As the first phase of the interventionist programmes of the State Employment and Expenditure for Results (SEEFOR) winds up, project beneficiary communities are still counting their blessings and want the World Bank and Europe Union assisted project to continue.
This was the general view of all the representatives of the beneficiary communities, co-operatives, public works youth employees and students of the various skills acquisition centres who spoke on the sidelines of a media facility tour of some SEEFOR projects in some local government areas of Rivers State over the weekend.
The Local Government Areas include Port Harcourt City Council, Eleme, Ikwerre and Asari-Toru.
The spokepersons lauded the hindsight of SEEFOR to go into the micro challenges of the impacted communities which were often overlooked by the State Governments but which have direct effect on the people including but not limited to toilets for riverine communities that are still contending with open defecation, walk ways, drainages, borehole water and civic centres in some communities for town hall meetings etc.
Briefing newsmen after the tour of the facilities, the State SEEFOR Co-ordinator, Kelcious Amos said the Project Development Objective (PDO) of SEEFOR is to enhance opportunities for employment and access to socio-economic services while improving the financial management systems in the participating states of Rivers, Bayelsa, Delta and Edo.
The project is divided into three components – youth employment and access to socio-economic service; public financial management; project co-ordination and support for direct impact and ease of implementation, the State co-ordinator noted.
According to him, through component A (public works), SEEFOR has made 477 interventions and engaged 21,770 youths across the state in addition to equipping them with money management and other entrepreneurial skills.
He further disclosed that through the Technical, Vocational and Agricultural Training (TVAT) of SEEFOR, a good number of educational institutions have benefitted across the state including Capt. Elechi Amadi Polytechnic, Port Harcourt and Rivers State Polytechnic, Bori.
Others include GTC, Port Harcourt, GTC Ele-Ogu, GTC, Ahoada, GTC, Tombia, Govt Development Centre, Port Harcourt, School-to Land Authority and Women Development Centre, Taabaa.
Some of the graduates from these institutions were also provided with starter-packs from the project, the State co-ordinator added.
Under the Community Driven Development – Social (DD-S), implemented by the Project Implementation Unit (PIU), and supervised by the State ministry of chieftaincy and community affairs, he said the project has intervened in 47 communities and carried out 94 micro projects
“The implementation of the sub-component of community Driven Development-Economic (CDD-E), which is the agricultural micro project in rural communities, FADAMA III is overseeing that. So far, 712 co-operatives have benefitted from this sub component across 49 communities,” he declared.
In his own address, the national co-ordinator, Dr. Greg Onu observed with satisfaction that the four SEEFOR impacted states have made impressive progress with regard to implementing projects designed under component A: small public works, technical, vocational and agricultural training colleges and community Driven Development.
Under component B – Public Financial Management (PFM), he said the states are at different stages of implementation.
This component is designed to support the financial management efforts of govts to ensure judicious utilization of public funds.
On the clamour for continuation of SEEFOR interventions, Dr. Onu said there is still hope for the communities that are yet to be impacted by SEEFOR as formal representation has been forwarded to the sponsors – World Bank and European Union on the need to extend the project’s exit period.
Recall that the project which commenced in 2013 was to be implemented over an initial five year period up to 2018, but the exit year was further extended to September 2019, hopefully to be extended further.