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By Mark Itsibor
The World Bank yesterday approved seven projects to support Nigeria’s investment in 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 federal government of Nigeria’s Economic Recovery and Growth Plan identifies human capital investment, restoring growth, and building a competitive economy as its key pillars,”said Rachid Benmessaoud, World Bank country director for Nigeria.
“This vision for a healthy, educated, productive and resilient population must be complimented 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 added.
The World Bank Group (WBG) has also extended its country partnership strategy for Nigeria until June 30, 2019, the bank said in a statement yesterday.
During FY 2018 and FY 2019, the WBG support would 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 Economic Recovery and Growth Plan (ERGP).
The approved program of support in FY18 comprises the following projects: The State Fiscal Transparency, Accountability and Sustainability Project, which is expected to help increase efficiency in spending, strengthen revenue mobilisation (of critical importance for the delivery of health, education, water and other services) and debt sustainability in participating states. Strengthened fiscal transparency would 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.
The Fiscal Governance and Institute Project is designed to improve the credibility of public finance and national statistics in the country. Fiscal governance is a key foundation for all other public-sector reforms. This is financed through an IDA credit of $125 million.
The Nigeria Erosion and Watershed Management Project expected 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.
This additional financing is an IDA credit of $400 million, the statement said.
The statement also added the Nigeria Electrification Project is to help leverage private sector investments in solar mini grids and standalone solar systems to provide electricity to 2.5 million people and 70,000 micro, small and medium enterprises. It will also provide publicly-funded reliable electricity to seven universities and two teaching hospitals. It would be financed through an IDA credit of $350 million.
There is the Accelerating Nutrition Results in Nigeria Project that was introduced to benefit over 8.7 million people, mostly pregnant and lactating women, adolescent girls and children below 5 years. The financing for the project consists an IDA credit of $225 million and a Global Financing Facility grant of $7 million.
The World Bank also listed the Nigeria Polio Eradication Support Project as one of the new intervention programmes it was putting together in Nigeria.
The bank hopes to improve immunisation coverage with oral vaccines to the national target of 85 per cent in 18 months. This additional financing is an IDA credit of $150 million.
The new World Bank intervention programmes also has the Nigeria for Women 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. This is financed through an IDA credit of $100 million.
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