The World Bank says it has approved a 2.1 billion-dollar loan for seven projects to support Nigeria’s investment in nutrition, access to electricity, states’ fiscal transparency and polio eradication.
It said this in a statement issued in Washington D.C., adding that women’s economic empowerment, public finance and national statistics and reducing vulnerability to soil erosion, are part of the projects the funding would address.
The statement quoted Dr Rachid Benmessaoud, the World Bank Country Director for Nigeria, as saying that the Federal Government’s Economic Recovery and Growth Plan (ERGP), identifies human capital investment, restoring growth, and building a competitive economy as its key pillars.
“This vision for a healthy, educated, productive and resilient population must be complemented by credible governance in order to attract private sector participation and ensure sustainable growth.
“The approved projects support the implementation of the government’s growth plan”, he said.
According to the statement, the World Bank Group (WBG) is extending its Country Partnership Strategy for Nigeria until June 30, 2019.
“During Financial Years (FY) 2018 and 2019, the WBG support will focus on revenue diversification and mobilization and addressing the binding constraints for attracting private financing.
“It will also improve social services delivery for building the human capital needed for inclusive economic growth, in alignment with the (ERGP).”
It said that the approved programme of support in FY2018 would comprise certain projects.
They are: state fiscal transparency, accountability and sustainability project that would help increase efficiency in spending and strengthen revenue mobilization and debt sustainability in participating states.
It said that this was of critical importance for the delivery of health, education, water and other services.
It also gave the breakdown of the projects and the amounts allotted to each one.
“Strengthened fiscal transparency will help build trust in government, enhance the monitoring of fiscal risks and facilitate accountability in public resource management.
“The project is financed through an International Development Association (IDA) credit of 750 million dollars.”
It said that the fiscal governance and institutions project would improve the credibility of public finance and national statistics in the country.
It also said that fiscal governance was a key foundation for all other public-sector reforms.
According to it, the project will help increase revenue and capital expenditure out-turn, strengthen fiscal accountability, including for expenditure effectiveness and to improve the quality of statistical information which will contribute to evidence-based policy making.
This, the bank said, would be financed through an IDA credit of 125 million dollars.
The statement also said that the Nigerian Erosion and Watershed Management project would promote innovative, integrated approaches based on international best practices and community participation.
This, it said, would tackle land degradation and major gully erosion formations in participating states.
“This project will support Nigeria in building its climate resilience, meet her National Determined Contributions and scale up the issuance of Green Bonds to leverage more financing for sustainable development.
“This additional financing is an IDA credit of 400 million dollars”, it said.
About the Nigeria Electrification project, the bank said it would leverage on 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.
It said that it would also provide publicly-funded reliable electricity to seven universities and two teaching hospitals.
It added that the project which was financed through an IDA credit of 350 million dollars would support the development of a sustainable framework for expanding electricity access in Nigeria over the long term.
The statement said that the Accelerating Nutrition Results in Nigeria project would 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 dollars and a Global Financing Facility grant of seven million dollars.”
The bank also said that the Nigeria Polio Eradication Support project would help improve immunization coverage with oral vaccines to the national target of 85 percent in 18 months.
It added that improving routine immunization coverage was critical to improving child health and reducing infant mortality, and that it would cost 150 million dollars additional financing of an IDA credit for the project.
It said that the ‘Nigeria for Women project’ would 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.
“This first World Bank-assisted stand-alone gender operation in Nigeria will also create and strengthen Women Affinity Groups to facilitate social networks and increase women’s voice and participation in the economy.
“This is financed through an IDA credit of 100 million dollars”, it added.
Amaka E. Nliam