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World Bank pledges support for Nigeria’s economic growth strategy

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The World Bank has indicated its interest in assisting Nigeria with much needed technical support in certain critical areas in a bid to push for accelerated growth and development of the country’s economy.

This statement was made by the Vice President for African Region, Hafez Ghanem while in discussion with the Minister for Budget and National Planning Senator Udoma Udo Udoma in Abuja, where he also listed Nigeria as a major priority of the World Bank.

Ghanem explained further that the World Bank is willing to provide technical support in areas like Public Private Partnerships (PPP), Economic Recovery Growth Plan (ERGP) mid-term review, power sector reform and population management. Other areas to receive technical support according to the Vice President are ERGP delivery, performance tracking and reporting, capacity building for sector officials and economic modeling for policy analysis and forecasting, with a pledge to also increase support for the Nigeria’s Social Investment Programme.

The World Bank official mentioned, that he was in Nigeria to discuss with the relevant officials in order to ascertain the necessary areas the country requires aid from the institution. He also noted that given the relative size of the Nigerian economy, it would be difficult to experience growth in Africa’s economy, if growth isn’t achieved in the Nigerian economy.

Giving credit to the efforts of the current administration in growing the economy, Ghanem stated that he would facilitate a presentation by the country at the annual World Bank/International Monetary Fund (IMF) meetings scheduled to hold in Indonesia later this year, to talk about its current status and economic progress.

Welcoming the World Bank official, Udoma stated that the ERGP is the medium term plan (2017 – 2020) is a programme that bests articulates this administration’s vision, and lays a groundwork for achieving economic growth and development. Noting the administrations strict targets to revive the economy after the effects of the fall in crude oil prices, he further stated that the ERGP was set up to help set the economy on the right part of diversification to avoid sole dependency on one export commodity.

Regardless of the achievements so far, the economy still has a lot to be done to achieve targets set through the ERGP. Also a mid-term review of the programme is imminent of which the assistance of the World Bank will be of great value, he said.

Outside technical assistance with the ERGP, Udoma also made it known that Nigeria would also stand to benefit from technical support in vital areas like power sector reform and PPPs which are important to the rapid transformation of the economy.

Population management was another area Udoma asked the World Bank, citing the major deficits to the economy a large population can have on the distribution of wealth within the country. Asking for access to relevant data to help decipher the best and most effective means of achieving success in this area, He also explained that Nigeria could benefit from the experience of other countries that have successfully addressed the issue.

Udoma further expressed gratitude to the World Bank, International Finance Corporation (IFC) and other financial development organizations that have been supportive of the nation’s ERGP plan, while pleading with the IFC to redeem the pledge it made to fund some of the projects under the ERGP focus labs.

With reference to the upcoming World Bank/IMF meeting, ‘it will be appreciated if the Vice President of World Bank could help designate a special session during the forthcoming IMF/World Bank meetings in Indonesia to enable Nigerian representatives speak to participants about the ERGP so as to be able to attract more investments into Nigeria to further facilitate the achievements of the objectives and targets of the Plan’ he said.

Also speaking at the meeting, the Minister of State, Mrs. Zainab Ahmed, appreciated the bank’s assistance in areas such as security, social investment and the cash transfer project, also seeking for aid in the area of population management and inclusive growth. Adding that is Nigeria is able to succeed with its Sustainable Development Growth (SDG) programme, it will be able to help in meeting some of the targets set for Africa.

 

Conrad Omodiagbe

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