Ogun, World Bank Partner on Economic Transformation Project to Improve Living Conditions

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…train 120 professionals to mitigate against resultant effects

The Ogun State Government in partnership with the World Bank has embarked on an Economic Transformation Project in the State to holistically transform people’s lives economically and socially while taking into consideration the negative resultant effects that may come with it.

The Acting Project Co-ordinator, Ogun State Economic Transformation Project (OGSTEP), Mrs. Mosunmola Owo-Odusi made this known during a five-day continuous stakeholders’ training for 120 professional officers in the State’s Ministries, Departments and Agencies on Understanding Gender-Based Violence that may result from the implementation of World Bank Projects and how to mitigate against such at Oke-Mosan, Abeokuta.

Owo-Odusi explained that the project is a multi-sectoral one that is well thought out by government to bring meaningful transformation in various sectors of the State so as to see positive changes in the lives of the people and inturn bring economic viability to the State.

She disclosed that the project focuses on four broad sectors which include; Public Sector Management, Agriculture, Business Enabling Environment, and the Skill sector adding that these sectors cover Education, Technical and Vocational Training, Bureau of Land and Survey, Ministry of Housing, Ministry of Industry, Trade and Investment, Ogun Invest, Ogun State Property Investment Corporation, Ministry of Agriculture, and Public Service Transformation Office amongst others.

According to her, the Public Sector Management seeks to institutionalize and develop many systems and reforms where there is none and to strengthen the existing systems where it is not working effectively through monitoring and evaluation, statistics, procurement, and public sector transformation for proper management and coordination of projects.

Speaking on the Agriculture, the Acting Project Co-ordinator noted that the project focuses on how 40,000 farmers who have not enjoyed any government intervention in the sector, especially women can benefit from the project’s marching grants for the agricultural value chain adding that this would bring economic returns to them and government in terms of payment of taxes.

In the area of Business Enabling Environment which is the bedrock on which others rest, Owo-Odusi said the whole essence is to see how private investors can come into the State adding that the government is doing everything possible to ensure that the cost and ease of doing business is modified so as to attract more businesses.

On the Skills Sector, the Acting Project Co-ordinator who said, “in all that the State is planning, if we do not improve the manpower capacity of the people, nothing will work”, disclosed that one of the greatest challenges encountered by the people is inability to access fund to upgrade themselves disclosing that there is “Ogun Skills fund” that has been set aside through the transformation project for artisans and the training providers.

In her presentation, the training facilitator, Mrs. EwaJesu Fasina, said the project’s appraisal document approves that a minimum of 40% of the beneficiaries of the economic transformation project must be women and youths, hence the need to engage gender based specialists to help mitigate against the high risks of sexual abuse and exploitation that comes with the influx of contractors and industrialists into a community.

Fasina added that the project prioritizes the empowerment of stakeholders and professional officers that implement government decisions on Understanding Gender-Based Violence, Grievance Redressing Mechanism that can address cases of violence, Psycho-Social Counselling to help survivals, and the Silent Rise in the Male-Child Abuse due to neglect.

The facilitator reiterated that while the Governor Dapo Abiodun led government is determined to improve the living conditions of the people, it is also committed to safeguarding their social lives because there is no economic transformation benefit, when the social welfare and lives of the citizens have been damaged.

Highlighting some of the strategies to be adopted in tackling gender based violence, Fasina disclosed that the project through a non governmental organization will develop audio-visual documentaries to sensitize the communities about mitigation so that the younger generation will not be victims adding that the project has also designed a secured reporting structure to effectively respond to any case of sexual abuse which would eliminate the issue of stigmatisation.

Responding on behalf of the participants, the Permanent Secretary, Ogun State Ministry of Agriculture, Dr. Dotun Sorunke appreciated the World Bank and the Ogun State Government for the great project initiative aimed at improving the living standard of the people in all ramifications.

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