Noah Ebije, Kaduna
Only recently, the Kaduna State Government inaugurated the Grievance Redress Committee (GRC), to tackle issues that may arise in the implementation of the Argo-Processing, Productivity Enhancement and Livelihood Improvement Support (APPEALS) projects. It is to resolve complaints arising from the relationship between the beneficiaries of the programme and members of the host communities.
The Deputy Governor and chairperson, APPEALS Project State Steering Committee, Hadiza Sabuwa Balarabe, expressed delight that government was collaborating with the World Bank on the project. Unveiling the toll free number to be used for dissemination of information and communication of complaints from the members of the public, she stressed that the committee remained an important element for the successful implementation of APPEALS:
“Kaduna State is glad to collaborate with the World Bank towards driving our goal to transform the economy of the state through development of agricultural sector, to transit agriculture from subsistence to commercially viable and market-oriented business and attract investment into the sector to create jobs and improve standard of living of the people.
“The project targets 10,000 direct and 50,000 indirect beneficiaries in the various segments of the value chains. Each of the value chains has high potentials for market driven sustainable development in the state. It is a needed impetus to improve agricultural production, ensure food security, job creation and economic development in beneficiary states and the country.”
Project Coordinator, Alhaji Yahaya Aminu, said members of the committee were ready to deliver on their mandate: “The responsibility of the committee is to listen to complaints that would arise from individuals and communities that may be adversely affected by some of the activities within the project; and then find solutions through mediation to resolve the problems.
“If the problem is beyond what they can solve, then we would refer the problems to the relevant bodies or agencies.” He listed the major intervention areas to include women and youth empowerment programme: “There is the value chain investment programme.
“Under the value chain investment programme, the farmer would approach us with their letters of expression of interest in their cooperative societies or in their enterprises and then we would carry out the need assessment to identify the areas that they would need our support to improve their businesses either in the areas of production, processing or even marketing.
“We would then give training on skills building activities for them to be able to prepare business investment plan that can be supportive under the project. If they are able to produce a viable business plan through our guidance and training, they would then get support of grants to be able to fund the investment.
“Women and youth empowerment programme has been broken up into stages. The first stage would entail the expression of interest where the prospective beneficiaries would come to our offices to collect the expressions of interest form, fill them and submit.
“Now we are in the process of processing the applications to sort out those candidates that are qualified or eligible, those that meet our criteria. That would lead to a shortlist of the eligible beneficiaries after which an interview would be conducted in order to select those that can benefit from the programme.
“After selecting those that are eligible, they would then be linked or admitted into training institutions that would provide capacity building, skill building activities that would also lead them to prepare their business investment plan. Business investment plan is the gate way towards access to that of the budget”.
He said the exercise is a continuous process, “because this activity would go on throughout the life span of this project. Up till September, 2023.”
One of the committee members, Hajiya Farida Abubakar, expressed gratitude to government for finding her worthy to be part of the committee.