The World Bank Group has expressed satisfaction with the performance of the Nigerian economy as it continues on the path to growth. The commendation was contained in a statement by the Bank on Monday, after the conclusion of a visit to Nigeria by 10 Executive Directors of the Bank from May 9th to 12th.
According to the statement, the visit was to enable the Bank’s management team get a better understanding of Nigeria’s development priorities with a special focus on the energy sector. The Executive Directors held discussions with the Vice President of Nigeria, the Minister of Finance and Governors of Adamawa, Bauchi, Borno, Gombe, Edo, Lagos, Taraba, Yobe and other senior Government officials.
The Directors discussed the security challenges in the Northeast and Middle belt regions and how to achieve development in these challenging environments. “Our visit to Nigeria was to get a better understanding of the country, assess the World Bank’s interventions on the ground, and support opportunities that will keep the country on a path of sustained development. “We commend Nigeria’s implementation of its new Economic Growth and Recovery Plan (EGRP) and the Power Sector Recovery Plan (PSRP), both of which are important for regional integration.” They said.
“It will also ensure trade and capital flows, which will ultimately lead to greater growth,” says World Bank. According to the statement, the Executive Directors also met with beneficiaries of the World Bank Group supported projects in agriculture, education, health, youth employment, community development, soil erosion and public financial management.
Similarly, they met with representatives of the private sector, civil society organisations, diplomatic missions and development partners. The group also visited the newly commissioned Edo Power Plant in Benin City, which was a key project in the Government’s power sector reform agenda and is supported by three arms of the World Bank Group.
The three arms are; the International Finance Corporation (IFC), Multilateral Investment Guarantee Agency (MIGA) and the World Bank. In Lagos, the delegation visited microfinance clients, mostly women, to gain an understanding of how the funds they had received impacted their livelihoods.
“They also had an interactive meeting with private sector executives, which highlighted the need to sustain business reforms and provide affordable and reliable power to improve the living standards of all Nigerians.“The Executive Directors observed that Nigeria continues to implement institutional policy reforms for restoring macroeconomic resilience and growth across sectors with support from the World Bank Group. “They reiterated the World Bank Group’s commitment to supporting Nigeria’s growth in a way that is inclusive, job enhancing, and reduces poverty and inequality.
“Critical to this inclusive growth objective is reforming the power sector, boosting critical investments in human development, and mobilising finance for development by creating a conducive environment for private sector participation,” the Bank said. The Bank also emphasised the importance of Nigeria to the sub-region and therefore the country’s central role in its regional strategy for Sub-Saharan Africa.
It will be recalled that Nigeria has been one of IFC’s fastest growing portfolios and represents IFC’s fifth largest global country exposure, with a committed volume of 1.6 Billion Dollars. Also, Nigeria is MIGA’s fifth largest country exposure in Sub-Saharan Africa, with current exposure of 334 Million Dollars. The Nigeria Country Partnership Strategy extending to 2019 has an investment of 8.8 billion Dollars through the International Development Association (IDA) and International Bank for Reconstruction and Development (IBRD).