World Bank To Spend N785bn On Projects In Nigeria

The World Bank has unfolded plans to spend $5 billion (about N785 billion) on 27 projects across the country in the next five years. Also, the African Development Bank (AfDB) sealed a pact to provide two sovereign? guaranteed?? multi –tranche lines of credit of $500 million to Bank of Industry (BOI) and of $200 million to Nigerian Export –Import Bank (NEXIM), to support export –oriented Small and Medium Enterprises’ (SMEs) modernisation and expansion.

The Country Director of the World Bank, Ms Marie-Francoise Marie-Nelly, dropped the hint of the $5 billion deal at a one day Job Shadow Workshop, organised by a Non –Governmental Organisation (NGO) in Lagos, Nigeria.

“On the average, we are providing money in the range of 1.3 billion dollars to 1.5 billion dollars in a year and what we have now is a stock of project”, she said.

She explained that 60 per cent of the total amount would be spent on sustainable development projects, including infrastructure, construction and rehabilitation, energy, water and agriculture.?

According to her, human capital development, which was the second area of intervention, would take about 40 per cent of the amount.

This, she said, would significantly impact on primary healthcare and basically help to improve the situation in the sector, especially polio eradication.

“But what is interesting to know is that government has adopted a significant programme called ‘Saving one million lives”.

The Country Director gave the assurances that the bank would continue to help in strengthening government institutions and private sector development.

“We also have three regional projects in the area of air transport, Niger River Basin in Niger State and the West Africa Agriculture Productivity Project, aimed at improving productivity in the agricultural sector and using the best techniques”, she said.

On youth empowerment, she said that the bank had budgeted $300 million for Youth Employment and Social Support Operation (YESSO) scheme in Nigeria.

“We are preparing YESSO to support the provision of immediate work opportunities and skill development for unemployed youths and women from poor households,” she stressed.

Earlier, Mrs Franca Thomas, the National Programme Coordinator of the NGO, said that the workshop was to introduce students in secondary schools to career opportunities in public and private sectors of the economy.