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World Bank Commits $1.5Bn To Nigeria’s Poverty Alleviation Programmes

The World Bank Group on Tuesday announced the approval of a $1.5-billion package to help Nigeria build a resilient recovery post-COVID 19 pandemic,

The approved fund was sequel to the ratification of a new five-year Country Partnership Framework (CPF) from 2021-2024 for the country.

The Breton Woods institution noted that Nigeria remained now at a critical juncture 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.

In addition, it projected that Government revenues could fall by more than 15 billion dollars this year, and the crisis will push an additional 5 million Nigerians into poverty in 2020.

Commenting on the funding support, World Bank Country Director for Nigeria, Shubham Chaudhuri, said: “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.

“To realize its long-term potential, the country has to make tangible progress on key challenges and pursue some bold reforms. Our engagement will focus on supporting Nigeria’s efforts to reduce poverty and promote sustained private sector-led growth”, the banker added.

According to its implementation template, the CPF will focus on four areas of engagement, namely 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 programmes.

The World Bank further stated that additional investments in promoting women’s empowerment and youth employment and skills, especially for young women, will also help reduce maternal and child mortality.

This is even as the multilateral development finance institution, stated that 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.

It will also help in enhancing resilience by strengthening service delivery and livelihood opportunities in the Northeast and other regions grappling with insecurity, as well as modernizing agriculture and building climate resilience.

Similarly the programme is also projected to help in 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.

The International Finance Corporation (IFC) Director for Southern Africa and Nigeria, Kevin Njiraini, pointed out that “a strong private sector is critical to support Nigeria’s economic growth and development. The Country Partnership Framework leverages the World Bank Group to enable business growth that is inclusive and sustainable.

“IFC will continue to support a broader private sector-led growth strategy to help Nigeria realize its immense potential by attracting more investment and creating millions of quality jobs for its growing population”, Njiraini assured.

Prepared jointly with the International Finance Corporation (IFC) and the Multilateral Investment Guarantee Agency (MIGA), 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.

Similarly, Director at MIGA for Economics and Sustainability, Merli Baroudi, explained: “To achieve sustainable post-COVID economic recovery, the country needs to strengthen reforms that support private sector solutions and crowd in private sector finance.

“In close coordination with the World Bank and IFC, MIGA will continue to expand its support for cross-border private investment into Nigeria”, he added.

The World Bank Board of Directors also approved $1.5 billion for two projects, which include Nigeria COVID-19 Action Recovery and Economic Stimulus – Program for Results (Nigeria CARES).

The Nigeria CARES will help increase access to social transfers and basic services, as well as provide grants to poor and vulnerable households. It will also strengthen food supply chains for poor households while facilitating recovery and enhancing capabilities of MSMEs. This is financed through an International Development Association (IDA) credit of $750 million.

The second project is the State Fiscal Transparency, Accountability and Sustainability Programme for Results (SFTAS) Additional Financing.

The SFTAS Additional Financing will also help Nigeria to consolidate on the progress made across 36 states, the original SFTAS programme will be expanded and scaled up in response to COVID-19.

The Additional Financing will help meet the financing gap in the Program Expenditure Framework, due to the sharp reduction in government revenues associated with the crisis.

It will help increase the efficiency in spending, strengthen revenue mobilization, and enhance accountability and transparency in public resource management to further strengthen state-level COVID-19 response.

The project is financed through an International Development Association (IDA) credit of $750 million.

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