Cabinet approval given for rural development project using US$ 75 million WB loan
By Uditha Jayasinghe
Over 800 rural villages are to be developed by a special World Bank approved IDA credit of US$ 75 million.
Having received Cabinet approval last week, the project is expected to concentrate primarily on promoting sustainable and equitable rural development under the broader title of Gama Neguma Community Driven Rural Development.
A Cabinet memorandum paper noted that the project would implement intra village development activities in about 514 selected Grama Niladari Divisions, which totals around 875 villages and 10 Pradeshiya Sabha areas.
The project will span seven districts - Moneragala, Badulla, Hambantota, Ratnapura, Kegalle, Nuwara Eliya and Polonnaruwa - which are among the poorest in Sri Lanka. The financial agreement between the World Bank and Sri Lankan Government was signed on October 22.
"Around 85% of the US$ 75 million will be used for intra-village development and inter-village connectivity development," said Enterprise Development and Investment Promotion Minister Anura Priyadarshana Yapa, adding that the project would also concentrate on public private and people partnerships as well as project management and monitoring to ensure that sustainable development is achieved.
The implementation of the project will be undertaken by the Nation Building and Estate Infrastructure Development Ministry through its Gemidiriya Foundation, registered under the Companies Act of 2009. It will have other board members such as the Rural Industries Ministry Secretary and representatives of the Finance Ministry and Samurdhi Authority as well.
In around 50-100 villages, the project will be implemented by the Samurdhi Authority. At district level, project implementation responsibility is with the District Secretary who will be assisted by a district facilitation team to liaise with all district level Government officials and political leaders to obtain their assistance.
The divisional role would be facilitation, coordination and monitoring project activities by the divisional facilitation team, which will coordinate with both the Pradeshiya Saba and Divisional Secretariats.