The Rivers State Commissioner for Agriculture, Mr. Emma Chinda, said that the state government was committed to the implementation of the International Fund for Agricultural Development-assisted Programme.
The Community-Based Natural Resource Management Programme (CBNRMP) is being implemented in Rivers and the eight other states in the Niger Delta Region.
They are Abia, Akwa Ibom, Bayelsa, Cross River, Delta, Edo, Imo, and Ondo.
The non-payment of counterpart fund by the benefiting states and local governments is hindering the successful implementation of the programme.
According to the rules guiding donor-funded programme, only payment of the required counterpart fund can guarantee access to the donor fund.
Some of the beneficiaries of the CBNRMP in Rivers told newsmen in a telephone interview recently that the non-payment of counterpart fund by the state government, was jeopardising the achievement of the programmeâ€™s goal.
They complained that the programme could not draw down on the fund provided by IFAD, the main financier, without the counterpart fund.
The beneficiaries, who spoke on condition of anonymity, therefore, appealed to the state government to take the necessary steps to ensure the successful implementation of the programme and guarantee improvement of their livelihood.
According to them, the present situation is affecting their livelihood, thereby making it difficult for them to adequately cater for their families.
Reacting to the complaints in a separate telephone interview, the National Programme Coordinator, Mrs. Irene Jumbo-Ibeakuzie, told newsmen that the Rivers Government had released N50 million as counterpart fund for the programme.
She commended the state government for the gesture, which, according to her, will go a long way to revive the interest of the beneficiaries as well as ensuring the successful implementation of the programme.
She, however, said that the state Ministry of Agriculture had yet to make the money available to the programme.
She stressed that the programme would not be able to access the IFAD fund, if the governmentâ€™s counterpart fund was not released to the programme.
â€œThe situation is also making it difficult for the beneficiaries of the programme to remain on agricultural jobs on a sustainable basis in order to achieve sustainable livelihood improvement.
â€œIt is also impacting negatively on the job creation potential of the programme,â€™â€™ she said.
Source: Nigerian ObserverÂ