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Saturday, February 4, 2023

Despite N45.8trn debt, Buhari’s government secures another N3.98trn ($9bn) loan from World Bank

The Nigerian government under President Muhammadu Buhari has borrowed another N3.98trn ($9bn) billion from the World Bank at highly concessionary rates.

This was disclosed by World Bank’s Nigeria Country Director, Shubham Chaudhuri at the World Bank’s Nigeria Development Update (NDU) launch and Country Economic Memorandum in Abuja on Thursday, December 15 2022.

Shubham Chaudhuri said the bank’s mission in Nigeria, “is to help the host country eliminate poverty and make life better”.

 

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Recall that Intel Region reported that Nigeria’s foreign debt has risen to N45.8trn ($103 billion) in the first half of 2022.

The World Bank, he said, has been able to attract funds in excess of $9 billion for financing into Nigeria in the past 30 months on concessionary rates.

According to him, “these funds are not donations; they are highly concessionary. We should be seen as trust partners. Whatever we can do to help Nigeria, we will do”.

The NDU report he said, “is part of the help, Nigeria’s future is full of potential and how it can get there. We are here as a partner. We will provide advice; we will never dictate”.

The World Bank country Director for Nigeria stressed the importance of adopting a single and market reflective exchange rate and a stop to fuel subsidy amongst other reforms the Bretton Wood Institution would want Nigeria to undertake.

 

 

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These reforms, Shubham Chaudhuri said, should be carried out if Nigeria is keen on charting an economic growth from the current situation.

The Nigeria Development Update (NDU) and Country Economic Memorandum describes the main trends, challenges, and opportunities for growth and job creation in Nigeria over the past 20 years; and proposes a path forward with actionable policy options.

Specifically, the report noted that “unlocking private investment will enable creation of more and better-quality jobs in a sustainable manner”.

The Minister of Finance, Budget and National Planning Mrs. Zainab Ahmed represented by the Director General, Budget Office of the Federation Mr. Ben Akabueze, said the launch of NDU report was another opportunity for Nigeria to review critical challenges confronting the economy and used the opportunity to commended the World Bank for its various policy advocacy and support to Nigeria.

She said the government has embarked on a number of reforms especially in the areas of revenue generation in the non-oil sector with the launch of Strategic Revenue Growth Initiative (SRGI).

Zainab Ahmed noted that with the launch of the SRGI, “government revenue from the non-oil sector has recorded improved performance. She listed measures adopted by the government to curtail oil theft in oil producing areas as one of such attempts at improving revenue generation.

 

She assured the World Bank that importation of refined fuel will reduce drastically next year when Dangote refinery comes on board in addition to the current effort to activate both Kaduna and Port Harcourt refineries in 2023.

She appealed to the international investment community that “the federal government and sub-national government alone can’t provide all the funding we need. We need the private sector- foreign and local in securing the much-needed investment”.

At the plenary session Special Adviser to the President on Finance and the Economy Dr. Sarah Alade said whatever can be done to achieve a working economy in which investors’ confidence is guaranteed is now imperative.

“The confidence in the market is very low. The first thing we should do is to restore macroeconomic stability. We have to do urgent reforms. We can’t grow the economy by ourselves, we need to restore order both in the capital market and money market and the time is now”, Dr. Alade said.

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