World Bank Approves New $2.25Bn For Nigeria’s Economic Reforms

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The World Bank on Thursday approved two operations, namely a $1.5 billion for the Nigeria Reforms for Economic Stabilization to Enable Transformation (RESET) Development Policy Financing Programme (DPF) and $750 million for the Nigeria Accelerating Resource Mobilization Reforms (ARMOR) Programme-for-Results (PforR).

The two funding operations totalling $2.25 billion provide immediate financial and technical support to Nigeria’s urgent efforts to stabilize the economy and scale up support to the poor and most economically at risk.

In addition, the financing further supports Nigeria’s ambitious, multi-year effort to raise non-oil revenues and safeguard oil revenues to promote fiscal sustainability and provide sufficient resources to deliver quality public services.

In a statement issued by the Bank in Washington D.C in the two operations, the multilateral institution noted that confronted with a fragile economic situation, Nigeria recognized the urgency of changing course and embarked on critical reforms to address economic distortions and strengthen the fiscal outlook. Initial critical steps to restore macroeconomic stability, boost revenues, and create the conditions to reignite growth and poverty reduction have been taken.

It listed some of the measures as e including the unification of the multiple official exchange rates and fostering a market-determined official rate, as well as sharply adjusting gasoline prices to begin to phase out the costly, regressive, and opaque gasoline subsidy.

The development finance institution further stated that the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) had refocused on its core mandate of price stability and is tightening monetary policy including by increasing interest rates, as is appropriate to reduce inflation even as a targeted cash transfer programme is being rolled out to cushion the impact of high inflation on the poor and economically insecure households.

Commenting on the intervention by the World Bank, the Minister of Finance and Coordinating Minister of the Economy, Wale Edun, said: “We have embarked on bold and necessary reforms to restore macroeconomic stability and put the country back on a sustainable and inclusive economic growth path that will create quality jobs and economic opportunities for all Nigerians.

“We welcome the support of the RESET and ARMOR programs as we further consolidate and implement our macro-fiscal and social protection policy reforms, consistent with accelerating investment and redirecting public resources sustainably to achieve development priorities”, the minister added.

In his remarks, the World Bank Vice President for Western and Central Africa, Ousmane Diagana, explained:  “Nigeria’s concerted efforts to implement far-reaching macro-fiscal reforms place it on a new path which can stabilize its economy and lift its people out of poverty. It is critical to sustain the reform momentum and continue to scale up and expand protection to the poor and economically at risk to cushion the effects of cost-of-living pressures on citizens.

“This financing package reinforces the World Bank’s strong partnership with Nigeria, and our support towards reinvigorating its economy and fast-tracking poverty reduction, which can serve as a beacon for Africa”, the banker stressed.

The ESET DPF is focused on supporting Nigeria strengthen its economic policy framework by creating fiscal space and protecting the poor and economically insecure. The ARMOR PforR will support efforts to implement tax and excise reforms, strengthen tax revenue and customs administrations, and safeguard oil revenues.

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