The World Bank over the weekend commended the staff and management of Nigeria Erosion and Watershed Management Project (NEWMAP) for effectively executing the project and making it a success story in the country.
The bank’s Practice Manager, Department of Environment, Mrs. Maria Savaf, made the commendation in Abuja during a maiden visit to the Minister of Environment, Alhaji Suleiman Zarma.
Savaf, who led the World Bank team to brief the minister on NEWMAP and West Africa Coastal Areas Management Programme, attributed NEWMAP’s feat to the hard work of its staff.
According to her, “The World Bank and Ministry of Environment have long time partnership. As World Bank, if we want to give example of what we do in the environment in West Africa, we will give example of NEWMAP as success story.”
Savaf sought for the federal government’s legal support to facilitate additional financing for NEWMAP project.
“Going forward, the whole of last year was very hard to get additional financing for NEWMAP and then one thing, may be, we will make a request on some help to move it forward, because up till now, additional financing has not been declared effected because we are still waiting for legal opinion.
“This is something that I have to request the minister to talk to the Ministers of Justice and Finance to enable us start working on additional financing,’’ she said.
The World Bank official also commended the federal government for including NEWMAP in its 2019 national budget proposal, urging the government to make its counterpart funding available to aid the implementation of the project.
She revealed that the bank had secured fund to conduct a preparatory study to prioritise plans for the nation’s coastal areas management programme.
Responding, Zarma, who thanked the World Bank for investing in the people and the nation’s environment, said that NEWMAP had gone a long way in addressing ecological problems in the country.