By Vincent Ujumadu
AWKAâ€”THE Federal government said yesterday that slow implementation of the Millennium Development Goal, MDG, projects by many states may mar the countryâ€™s hope of achieving the objectives of the programme by the targeted year of 2015.
Senior Special Assistant to the President on MDGs, Hajiya Amina Az-zubair, who expressed the fear in Awka at the 11th monthly review meeting of the conditional grants scheme focal persons, wondered why many states were experiencing difficulties and delays in project implementation, despite the fact that they had received the conditional grants.
The meeting is being attended by the MDG focal persons from the 36 states of the federation and Abuja.
Az-zubair, whose address was read by an Assistant Director in her office, Mr. Gideon Mitu, however, singled out Anambra State as one state that had performed excellently under the MDG programme and urged other states to emulate it.
According to her, the principal objective of the review meeting is to assess progress of 2008 and 2009 ahead of the United Nations General Assembly in New York where world leaders would take stock of the progress towards the MDGs and review strategies for the five-year count down to 2015.
She said: â€œIt will be recalled that funds for the 2009 CGS were all released between November and December 2009, and March, 2010. The time frame is sufficient for the completion of projects which were intended to have six-month work plan.
â€œI am, therefore, concerned that so many states appear to be experiencing difficulties and delays in project completion. So far, the average level of completion for 2009 is an abysmal 40%.
â€œA number of reasons have been proffered for these delays, some of which reflect environmental challenges, such as availability of ground water for boreholes. There is also the challenge of governance which borders on the adherence to approval and due process mechanisms which are slow.
â€œThe review meeting must, therefore, address these challenges with a view to getting states to complete them by October 2010.â€
She reminded the states that their performance under the 2007 and 2008 CGS would be used as one indicator among many of their capacities to effectively execute projects under the 2011 CGS, adding that this became imperative because government could not afford further waste of time or resources in the march towards achieving MDGs.