By Ogar Monday
A former Special Adviser, International Donor Cooperation in Cross River State, Roy Ndoma Egba, who served under the previous administration of Senator Liyel Imoke, has stated that the current administration of Senator Ben Ayade has lost international donor “goodwill” and therefore has led to the exit of most of the international partners that were working in the State.
Mr. Ndoma Egba stated this recently as a guest in a radio program “The Dialogue with Agba Jalingo” on Hit Fm Calabar which holds every Sunday 6pm-7pm.
According to Ndoma Egba, “The development effort in Cross River State took a significant shift in 2000 when Governor Donald Duke, for the first time convoked the first Donor Conference in Cross River State. That enabled partners, stakeholders to sit together and deliberate on the development perspective and direction for the State.
“By 2007 when Senator Liyel Imoke took over Government, he became more deliberate about development in Cross River State and that led to the Transition Committee suggesting the creation of a Department for International Donor Support. The whole essence then was to enable coordination, in terms of donor assistance and development assistance to the State. As at the close of May 2015 when that Government left, Cross River State became a referral to development cooperation in Nigeria.”
Roy Ndoma Egba stated that this is no longer the case, “the State has lost good will because as at the time we left in May 2015, we had an entire UN office in Cross River, that translated to the fact that, on ground we had over 12 UN agencies working in Cross River, 5 were working from outside Cross River; that means we had a total of 17 UN agencies whose presence were in Cross River itself, addressing several other issues.”
Adding that, “We had a situation where a window for all development assistance to the State had been created. I am proud to say that at that time, donor funding now accounted for the State GDP and for the budget, it was about 7.5% to 8% of the annual budget. For development practitioners, that was very significant because the moment development assistance was reflecting in the State GDP, it means it was impacting, even if it came from external sources.
“I am aware that a lot of the partners are pulling out of Cross River State because that level of coordination no longer exists. They are no longer empirical, that is scientific in our approach to development in the State that is why we can no longer speak to our effort in the water sector, we can no longer speak to our effort in education, and we can’t speak clearly on our efforts in health.”