Nigeria: World Bank Backs Nigeria's Oil Sector Deregulation

18 October 2020

The World Bank has applauded efforts of federal government, in opening the downstream sector of the oil and gas industry.

The president of the World Bank Group, Mr David Malpass, commended the current administration for removing subsidies on petroleum products.

He said this in Washington D. C. on Wednesday, at the opening press conference for the World Bank at the ongoing 2020 International Monetary Fund (IMF)/World Bank virtual annual meetings.

Malpass was responding to a question on whether the World Bank saw an opportunity or problem regarding the enormous youth population in Nigeria accompanied by rising unemployment and the burden of COVID-19.

"I compliment Nigeria for tackling the problem of subsidies in the hydrocarbon area. By reducing those subsidies and allowing gasoline prices to rise - it is very hard for governments to do that - there are substantial benefits.

"It means that there are fiscal savings, it also means that there are environmental benefits that are large and it allows markets to work better and to allocate resources better. So, I think progress is being made in that area and it is valuable," he stressed.

On tackling the economic crisis the pandemic posed for Nigeria; he said, the vital steps were to strengthen the health and the education system.

According to him, "the governance system and transparency were vital in order to reduce corruption within the system. I think each country has to confront or has to think about where it wants to be in a post-COVID world that is going to be very different from the pre-COVID world.

"That means a different way of people interacting, hopefully, better; a greener way of operating; and an emphasis on health care.

"We have extended the emergency health response to include vaccines and distribution of vaccines for COVID; but it also has the benefit of helping the vaccination programmes in other areas; and the healthcare outreach in other areas that will be so valuable," he noted.

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