World Bank to Spend $5b on Projects in Nigeria

The World Bank, Tuesday, unfolded plans to spend $5billion (about N785 billion) on 27 projects across the country in the next five years.

Also, yesterday, the African Development Bank (AfDB) sealed a pact to provide two sovereign-guaranteed multi-tranche lines of credit (LoCs) of $500 million to Bank of Industry (BOI) and of $200 million to Nigerian Export-Import Bank (NEXIM), to support export-oriented Small and Medium Enterprises’ (SMEs) modernization and expansion.

The Country Director of the World Bank, Ms Marie-Francoise Marie-Nelly, dropped the hint of the $5 billion deal at a one-day ``Job Shadow Workshop’’, organized by Junior Achievers Nigeria, a Non- Governmental Organization (NGO).

“On the average, we are providing money in the range of 1.3 billion dollars to 1.5 billion dollars in a year and what we have now is a stock of projects,” she said.

Marie-Nelly explained that 60 per cent of the total amount would be spent on sustainable development projects, including infrastructure, construction and rehabilitation, energy, water and agriculture.

According to her, human capital development, which was the second area of intervention, would take about 40 per cent of the amount.

This, she said, would significantly impact on primary healthcare and basically help to improve the situation in the sector, especially polio eradication.

“But what is interesting to know is that government has adopted a significant program called ‘Saving one million lives’’’.

The country director gave the assurance that the bank would continue to help in strengthening government institutions and private sector development.

“We also have three regional projects in the area of air transport, Niger River Basin in Niger State and the West Africa Agriculture Productivity Project, aimed at improving productivity in the agricultural sector and using the best techniques,” she said.

On youth empowerment, she said that the bank had budgeted $300 million for Youth Employment and Social Support Operation (YESSO) scheme in Nigeria.

“We are preparing a Youth Employment and Social Support Operation (YESSO) to support the provision of immediate work opportunities and skills development for unemployed youths and women from poor households,” she stressed.

Earlier, Mrs. Franca Thomas, the National Programme Coordinator of the NGO, said that the workshop was to introduce students in secondary schools to career opportunities in public and private sectors of the economy.

The AfDB’s LoCs will allow local SMEs to be more competitive, scale up their operations and ultimately create more jobs in Nigeria.  The facility will include a technical assistance package to strengthen institutional capacity at both BOI and NEXIM as well as at their SME clients.

Through this integrated financing package, the AfDB is supporting Nigeria’s efforts towards a more diversified economy away from oil and gas.

The LoCs will supply multi-sector financing to address the challenge that SMEs face in accessing finance in the country. Therefore, export-oriented SMEs will be able to become more competitive, ensure sustainable growth of their operations and generate employment in the Nigerian productive sectors.

In line with its mandate to finance industrial development projects, BOI provides term finance and advisory services primarily to indigenous SMEs, to which it devotes at least 85 per cent of its resources.

NEXIM has mandate to provide export credit, export guarantee and export credit insurance as well as export advisory services to export oriented companies, particularly SMEs in the non-oil sector.

AfDB’s Resident Representative in Nigeria, Dr. Ousmane Dore, said: “This AfDB combined programme will contribute to mobilize significant financial resources for Nigerian export-oriented SMEs, ultimately contributing to economic development, employment opportunities, foreign exchange and regional trade integration”

NEXIM Managing Director, Robert Orya, added: “Thanks to AfDB’s support through this programme, NEXIM seeks important economic development achievements, including approximately 55,000 new jobs for its SME clients, $1.6 billion in foreign exchange and an overall contribution of almost seven per cent to non-oil exports.




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