The World Bank has finally approved a Country Partnership Strategy (CPS) for Nigeria which would increase its development assistance to the country for job creation, social service delivery and governance to about $2 billion per year through the International Development Association (IDA) and International Bank for Reconstruction and Development (IBRD) financing window.
But the bulk of the new financing programme which covers the period of 2014 to 2017 will focus on increasing Nigeria's installed power generation and transmission capacity as well as helping to improve the efficiency and governance of electricity delivery in the country.
The CPS was announced by the bank weekend in Washington and it introduces a change in Nigeria's borrowing status.
It is structured around three areas; promoting diversified growth and job creation by reforming the power sector, enhancing agricultural productivity, and increasing access to finance; improving the quality and efficiency of social service delivery at the state level to promote social inclusion; and strengthening governance and public sector management with gender equity and conflict sensitivity as essential elements of governance.
A statement from the bank announcing the finance programme was obtained by THISDAY in Abuja. It also stated that Nigeria, which was declared credit worthy for IBRD financing last year, would officially attain its blend status from July 1, 2014.
The 'blend status' simply means that Nigeria will have access to loans from both the IDA and the IBRD windows within a particular period of time, but on different repayment conditions.
The statement explained that the CPS has been prepared in the context of the World Bank's renewed commitment to the twin goals of reducing extreme poverty and promoting shared prosperity in Nigeria and globally. It equally noted that the programme is fully aligned with Nigeria's development agenda as contained in the Vision 20: 2020, medium-term strategy for realising the vision and the government's transformation agenda.
All the structured areas are couched in support of the government's developmental objectives. "The CPS seeks to address inequalities in income and opportunities for the poor and vulnerable by developing more effective mechanisms for social service delivery including social protection programmes, education, health and water service delivery," World Bank Country Director for Nigeria, Marie Francoise Marie-Nelly, was quoted to have said in the statement.
Also, World Bank Task Team Leader for the CPS, Indira Konjhodzic, said in the statement that: "The bulk of the financing programme will focus on increasing installed power generation and transmission capacity and improving the efficiency and governance of electricity delivery."
Konjhodzic further added: "Boosting agricultural productivity, improving farmers' linkages with agro-processors and increasing access to finance including long time financing to the citizens, particularly women, is a major focus of this partnership strategy."
The CPS represents the joint World Bank Group's program under a common donor platform known as the Country Assistance Framework (CAF) and would work in close cooperation among development partners to enhance the effectiveness and transformational impact of national efforts and avoid duplication of tasks. This CAF approach is reported by the bank to have proved very effective for better coordination and synergies among partners' strategies of support to Nigeria.
Meanwhile, the statement equally noted that Nigeria's Coordinating Minister of the Economy and Minister of Finance, Dr. Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala, had commended the new CPS.
"We believe that this CPS within the CAF of the development partners would go a long way to support the government of Nigeria's efforts of creating jobs for our teeming youths and improving infrastructure that would lead to economic growth which would impact on the majority of our people," Okonjo-Iweala was quoted to have said in the statement.
Apart from its interventions in Nigeria's power generation like the refurbishment of generating units at the Kainji hydro power station, the World Bank has also funded metering project for the Abuja distribution company as part of its National Energy Development Project (NEDP).
The metering intervention included procurement through an international competitive bidding procedure of 117,000 meters which were supplied and installed in defined areas in Karu, Kubwa and some parts of Abuja and environs by Landis&Gyr/Jibs Engineering JV under a turnkey undertaking of manufacturing, importing, storing and installing directly at beneficiary customers' premises.