28 June 2018

Nigeria: World Bank Approves $2.1bn Project Support Loan

Photo: The Guardian

Lagos — The World Bank Thursday announced its approval of a total of $2.1 billion as project support loan for Nigeria.

The concessionary loan is to support the funding of seven projects in key sectors in the country.

The World Bank, in a statement listed the seven projects to include nutrition, access to electricity, states' fiscal transparency, polio eradication, women's economic empowerment, public finance and national statistics and reducing vulnerability to soil erosion.

The statement quoted World Bank Country Director for Nigeria, Rachid Benmessaoud, to have explained that the federal government's Economic Recovery and Growth Plan (ERGP) identified human capital investment, restoring growth, and building a competitive economy as key pillars.

The Bank recently extended its Country Partnership Strategy (CPS) for Nigeria to June 30, 2019. During the period 2018 and 2019, its support is expected to focus on revenue diversification and mobilisation, addressing the binding constraints for attracting private financing, and improving social services delivery for building the human capital needed for inclusive economic growth, in alignment with the ERGP.

The approved programme of support in 2018 comprised transparency projects.

According to Benmessaoud, the vision for a healthy, educated, productive and resilient population must be complemented by credible governance to attract private sector participation and ensure sustainable growth.

He said the approved projects support the implementation of government's growth plan for the economy, adding that strengthened fiscal transparency would help build trust in government, enhance the monitoring of fiscal risks and facilitate accountability in public resource management.

The project would be financed through an International Development Association (IDA) credit of $750 million.

Also, the Fiscal Governance and Institutions Project will improve the credibility of public finance and national statistics in the country, while fiscal governance is a key foundation for all other public-sector reforms.

Furthermore, it stated that the project would help increase revenue and capital expenditure, strengthen fiscal accountability, including expenditure effectiveness and also improve the quality of statistical information contributing to evidence-based policy making. The project will be financed through an IDA credit of $125 million.

Similarly, the World Bank pointed out that the Nigeria Erosion and Watershed Management Project was designed to promote innovative, integrated approaches based on international best practices and community participation to tackle land degradation and major gully erosion formations in participating states.

"The project will support Nigeria in building its climate resilience and meeting her National Determined Contributions, apart from scaling up the issuance of Green Bonds to leverage more financing for sustainable development. This additional financing is an IDA credit of $400 million," it added.

Also, for the power sector, the Nigeria Electrification Project would leverage private sector investments in solar mini-grids and stand-alone solar systems to provide electricity to 2.5 million people and 70,000 micro, small and medium enterprises.

The project would also provide publicly-funded reliable electricity to seven universities and two teaching hospitals.

"Besides, the project would support the development of a sustainable framework for expanding electricity access in Nigeria over the long term, with $350 million financed through an IDA credit made available for it.

"Next, is the Accelerating Nutrition Results in Nigeria Project will benefit over 8.7 million people, mostly pregnant and lactating women, adolescent girls and children below five years old.

"As the first dedicated large investment in Nigeria on nutrition-specific interventions and outcomes, the project will contribute to reducing chronic malnutrition, maternal and child mortality rates, improved school completion and performance, and consequently, enhanced labour force productivity and economic growth in Nigeria.

"The financing for this project consists of an IDA credit of $225 million and a Global Financing Facility grant of another $7 million. The Nigeria Polio Eradication Support Project is expected to help improve immunisation coverage with oral vaccines to the national target of 85 per cent in 18 months.

"Improving routine immunisation coverage, which is critical to improving child health and reducing infant mortality, will attract additional financing with an IDA credit of $150 million," it stated.

For the Nigeria for Women Project, about $100 million finance through an IDA credit has been approved for the project designed to directly impact 324,000 women beneficiaries through investments in comprehensive skills training, the leverage of financial and technical resources, and support to policy dialogue on women's economic empowerment, the Bank added.

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