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World Bank Finally Approves $1.5billion Loan To Strengthen Nigeria’s Economy

The World Bank has finally approved Nigeria’s request for a $1.5 billion loan.

This was announced in a statement by World Bank on Tuesday noting that the facility is a five-year Country Partnership Framework (CPF) that will last from 2021 to 2024.

“This Country Partnership Framework will guide our engagement for the next 5 years in supporting the Government of Nigeria’s strategic priorities by taking a phased and adaptive approach,” World Bank Country Director for Nigeria, Shubham Chaudhuri said.

World Bank Board of Directors approved the $1.5 billion for two projects, which include: Nigeria Covid-19 Action Recovery and Economic Stimulus – Program for Results (Nigeria CARES) and the State Fiscal Transparency, Accountability and Sustainability Program for Results (SFTAS).

The CPF will focus on four areas of engagement which include investing in human capital by increasing access to basic education, quality water, and sanitation services; improving primary healthcare; and increasing the coverage and effectiveness of social assistance programs.

Promoting jobs and economic transformation and diversification by supporting measures to unlock private investment and job creation and increasing access to reliable and sustainable power for households and firms.

The CPF will also focus on boosting digital infrastructure, and developing economic corridors and smart cities, to provide Nigerians with improved livelihoods.

Strengthening the foundations of the public sector by improving public financial management and strengthening the social contract between citizens and government through improved fiscal and debt management.

World Bank in the statement added that Nigeria is at a critical juncture, hence the approval of the loan.

“With the sharp fall in oil prices as a result of COVID-19, the economy is projected to contract by over 4% in 2020, plunging the country into its deepest recession since the 1980s. Government revenues could fall by more than 15 billion dollars this year, and the crisis will push an additional 5million Nigerians into poverty in 2020,” the statement read in part.

The World Bank noted that the facility was prepared jointly with the International Finance Corporation (IFC) and the Multilateral Investment Guarantee Agency (MIGA).

READ ALSO: I’ll declare protest if Governors borrow from pension funds – NLC President

This CPF proposes a collaborative approach of how resources across the entire Bank Group can best support the Government’s effort to achieve its goal to lift 100 million citizens out of poverty.

“The Country Partnership Framework leverages the World Bank Group to enable business growth that is inclusive and sustainable,” IFC Director for Southern Africa and Nigeria, Kevin Njiraini also said.

-Condition for loan approval-

World Bank country director for Nigeria, Shubham Chaudhuri had earlier said Nigeria needs more monetary reform in order to access $1.5 billion loan.

The loan was then delayed with Chaudhuri saying Nigeria needs to carry out more currency reform and make plans for sustainability in later years.

“What is sustainability in 2021 and beyond? And that is why we are thinking about the overall prospects going forward, in terms of the macro adequacy and the flexibility and exchange rate management,” he said.

Last week, in the World Bank Nigeria update report, the Country Director said the approval of the loan was in the works and the board will meet to decide their position on December 14th.

He added that Nigeria needs to do more to meet up with the loans particularly more reforms in forex liquidity.

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