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Minister accuses Buhari govt of mishandling $100m World Bank women empowerment loan

Speaking during an appearance on Arise Television’s Morning Show on Monday, Kennedy-Ohanenye alleged that the first tranche of the loan, which is $100 million, meant for the Nigeria For Women Project, was mismanaged.

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Minister accuses Buhari govt of mishandling $100m World Bank women empowerment loan

The Minister of Women Affairs, Uju Kennedy-Ohanenye, has accused the Muhammadu Buhari administration of mismanaging the first tranche of the $500 million World Bank loan for women’s empowerment in the country.

Speaking during an appearance on Arise Television’s Morning Show on Monday, Kennedy-Ohanenye alleged that the first tranche of the loan, which is $100 million, meant for the Nigeria For Women Project, was mismanaged.

The Project is a strategic engagement between the World Bank and the Nigerian Government set to improve the livelihood of Nigerian women.

A statement from the bank said the loan is a scale-up financing for the women’s project, which was initially approved on June 27, 2018, with $100m financing.

It stated that the loan will help to ensure better economic opportunities for women, which is essential for addressing gender inequality; guaranteeing better education, health, and nutrition outcomes for families; and building women’s and communities’ resilience to climate change.

Speaking during the interview, Kennedy-Ohanenye said the $100 million was disbursed by the Buhari government and the expenditure didn’t reflect the Renews Hope Agenda of the Tinubu administration.

The minister also alleged that the first tranche was mainly used for advocacy, meetings, and consultancy services and was shared among the states without proper accountability and transparency.

She stated that the project, which is meant for vulnerable women in the country, and the project has been launched in 15 states and the Federal Capital Territory.

She said, “About the Nigeria For Women Project, let me first tell Nigerian women to clap for President Bola Ahmed Tinubu, who came in after the first $100 million had been expended. When he came into the office, he looked at it with me and we were not satisfied with how the money was used. Let me make it clear, this is not a grant, it is a loan and when monies are given out as loans, they must be managed well so that the money can be paid back. If we don’t manage it well, how do we pay back the loan?

“When money is a loan, we expect whoever is given the loan to be allowed to utilise it properly in a way that the money will be paid back, so Nigeria will not continue owing all the time. So, the first $ 100 million, when I came in, I was not satisfied. It didn’t augur well with the Renewed Hope agenda. It was mainly for advocacy, meetings, and consultancy, and that was it and they shared it among the states. But remember, the project is called Nigeria For Women Project. It is supposed to be meant for projects for women, but that was not the case.”

The minister also stated the new structure has been forwarded to the Minister of Finance, Wale Edun, for restructuring for the commencement of the disbursement.

She added, “Fortunately, I quickly raised a new structure on how that money will be utilised so there won’t be more issues of advocacy, meetings and consultancy, which to me is a way of lavishing the money. So we took a new structure to him (Tinubu), he looked at it and he signed a memo, approving it for restructure. I quickly wrote to the Minister of Finance, Wale Edun, and I’m waiting for the new template to be restructured because Nigerian women are concerned, and we can work with the old structure.

“The former structure was there and women continued suffering. $500million is not a small amount of money, and I can assure you that it can change the lives of every woman who is vulnerable in this country, and I have planned myself from the Federal Ministry of Women Affairs, awaiting the new structure. What did I do? I created a portal, and we have started onboarding women from the communities we partner with all the traditional rulers and commissioners across the nation and they have started onboarding the vulnerable women from communities.”

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