World Bank, FG in talks over $1bn loan

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TRACKING>>The Federal Government and the World Bank Power sector team yesterday held a discussion on the possibility of Nigeria accessing a $1 billion Performance Based Loan (PBL) from the multilateral institutions. Finance Minister, Mrs. Zainab Ahmed who made this known at a joint press briefing held with the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) Governor, Godwin Emefiele, at the end of the 2019 World Bank/International Monetary Fund (IMF) Spring Meetings in United States, said the relevant Ministries, Departments and Agencies (MDAs) of government will be brought in to finalise the discussions in record time.

“We met with the World Bank Power Sector team and discussed the way forward on the proposed $1 billion Nigeria Performance Based Loan (PBL). We agreed to bring relevant MDAs together to ensure that we advance this operation in a timely manner. We will also discuss the Country Portfolio Performance of Nigeria, which currently stands at $9.8 billion with the Nigerian Country team at the World Bank and how we could manage the portfolio for optimum results,” she said. Ahmed said there are plans by the Debt Management Office (DMO) to issue N15 billion Green Bond to fund agriculture, power, health and water amenities to make life better for the people, saying the Green Bond will be the second one and would be used to finance agriculture, power sector – mostly solar projects – as well as for some in the water sector. She pointed out that the projects for which the funds will be applied, “must be green.

They must be projects that are not contributing to carbon dioxide emissions to the society. The first green bond issuance was successful and all the projects that were scheduled to have been financed have been done and the projects are at various levels of completion.” On Brexit, Emefiele said the Brexit controversy going on in the United Kingdom is all about immigration and trade opportunities. “I would say that though Britain and Nigeria have trade relationship, but it is not as strong as what we have with China and the Untied States. For instance, China is Nigeria’s largest trading partner, followed by the United States. And I had imagine that Britain comes quite low on the scale. So if you look at that, you would find that, in my view, there is not going to be any adverse consequences on Nigeria, but we are reviewing it to see the implication which I would expect would naturally be positive,” he said. Giving an overview of the meetings, Mrs. Ahmed said the meetings provided an opportunity to review developments in the global economy, examined emergent and associated risks and offer potential policy menu to ameliorate the situations, going forward. Also, the Minister of Budget and National Planning, Senator Udoma Udo Udoma, said he had discussions with investors and development partners on potential investment opportunities in the country. According to him, he had discussions on improving the business climate, sensitised potential investors on incentives and opportunities for investments in Nigeria. “In the course of my meeting with officials of the International Finance Corporation, I asked for their support for our efforts to leverage the private sector capital to fund critical infrastructure in Nigeria,” he said. The Governor, Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN), Mr. Godwin Emefiele, spoke about his meeting with Queen Maxima of the Netherlands who is the UN Secretary-General Special Advocate on financial inclusion. “We reviewed the position of Nigeria in terms of financial inclusion, observing that the rate of inclusion is moving up aggressively and we are very optimistic that in 2020 we will meet the 80 per cent inclusion target. “We also met with foreign investors who expressed confidence in what we are doing in Nigeria and this has been supported by the inflows that you may have observed recently between December and this time. “A major take away from this meeting is that although the GDP numbers for Nigeria is low at 1.9 per cent in 2018, I’m encouraged by the IMF predictions that global growth will pick up by second half of 2019 and emerging market economies like India, Brazil, China and Nigeria will help to drive growth,” he said.

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