16 February 2017

Nigeria: Govt Yet to Decide How Much to Borrow From World Bank

Photo: cbronline

Abuja — The federal government has said it is yet to decide the amount it would borrow from the World Bank.

The Minister for Budget and National Planning, Chief Udoma Udo Udoma, disclosed this yesterday while fielding questions from State House correspondents after the Federal Executive Council (FEC) meeting at which Acting President, Yemi Osinbajo presided.

The meeting, which lasted till about 6pm was the longest in the history of this administration.

The World Bank loan is to be partly used to finance the 2017 budget.

When asked how much would the country be asking for from the World Bank, Udoma said: "The figure will depend on the (2017) budget approved by the National Assembly."

Udoma's response was a departure from the $2.5 billion the federal government had earmarked for borrowing from the World Bank under the three-year $30 billion foreign borrowing plan, which is still awaiting approval at the National Assembly.

The budget minister, however, admitted that funding constraints had made it difficult to release funds for capital projects.

However, he said due to the peace in the Niger Delta, revenue was beginning to improve.

He said: "Because of the funding constraints, the budget has a deficit, I travelled with the Minister of Finance and Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) Governor to market the Eurobond.

"As you can see, the Eurobond was oversubscribed by about eight times, so the funds are coming in, there is more stability in the Niger Delta, so more monies are coming in."

Udoma also said the council yesterday spent hours fine-tuning the Economy Recovery Growth Plan.

He also said the council had extension discussion on the plan.

According to him, the growth plan is still being fine-tuned.

The minister said: "But a lot of inputs were made by council members and it is virtually ready for the president to launch. However, we are doing some fine-tuning and during this period we also do some final consultation before the president launches the plan."

He said the plan, when approved, is expected to drive economic recovery and lay the foundation for longer term growth as well as improve the competitiveness of the Nigerian economy.

The minister stated that jobs and social inclusion were also key focused areas of the plan.

He gave the immediate execution priorities of the plans as: agriculture and food security, energy-particularly power and petroleum product sufficiency, industrialisation- focusing on small and medium size enterprising, transportation which is very, very important as an infrastructure requirement to get the economy really moving, and stabilisation of the micro-economy environment.

The minister also said the council spent a lot of time looking at implementation.

Udoma said that one of the means of ensuring implementation was to have a delivery unit which he said would be in the presidency.

He gave the key principles of the plan as: Tackling constraints to growth, leveraging the power of the private sector. This is very important. This is why we have been having extensive consultations and discussions with the private sector, promoting national cohesion and social inclusion, allowing market to function, approving the core value for which this country stands.

Udoma, however, insisted that the plan was still being fine-tunined.

Also yesterday, FEC approved N126 billion for the construction of twelve roads mostly in the northern part of the country.

Minister for Power, Works and Housing, Mr. Babatunde Fashola, who announced the approval for the roads said the projects are located in Kaduna, Kano, Bauchi, Adamawa, Kwara, Gombe, Adamawa, Enugu States.

Fashola said awarding the contacts would help to reflate the economy.

He said: "The headline figures are in the region of N126 billion but I think that Is not the story, the story really is what the award of those contracts will do to the economy. It will restore confidence to the construction industry."

Nigeria

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