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World Bank portfolio in Nigeria rises to $8.52bn

Nigeria’s liabilities to the World Bank Group now stands at $8.52bn, investigation has shown.

Statistics obtained from the Debt Management Office in Abuja on Wednesday showed that the group’s portfolio rose from $5.73bn as of March 31, 2015 to $8.52bn as of March 31, 2018.

This means that the bank’s commitment to the country rose by $2.7bn within a period of three years, which is an increase of 48.69 per cent.

There are, however, new disbursements and approvals from the World Bank Group that have not been captured in the country’s debt statistics.

An example of this is the $2.1bn approved by the board of the bank in June for seven projects to support Nigeria’s investment in nutrition, access to electricity, states’ fiscal transparency, polio eradication, women’s economic empowerment, public finance and national statistics, and reducing vulnerability to soil erosion.

A breakdown of the group’s portfolio in the country shows that a greater part of the debt belongs to the International Development Association, an arm of the World Bank that specialises in giving concessional loans to poor and fragile countries. The IDA commitment to Nigeria amounts to $8.4bn.

Another member of the group, the International Bank for Reconstruction and Development, has a commitment of $124.18m in the country.

With a commitment of $8.52bn, the World Bank is responsible for 38.6 per cent of Nigeria’s foreign portfolio of $22.07bn as of March 31, 2018.

Apart from the World Bank Group, Nigeria is also exposed to some other multilateral organisations such as the African Development Bank, with a portfolio of $1.32bn; and the African Development Fund, with a portfolio of $835.14m.

Others are the International Fund for Agricultural Development, with a portfolio of $160.38m; the Arab Bank for Economic Development, with a portfolio of $5.88m; the EDF Energy (France), with a portfolio of $70.28m; and the Islamic Development Bank, with a portfolio of $17.5m.

Altogether, the multilateral organisations hold 49.52 per cent of the country’s external debt portfolio, while bilateral debts make up $2.34bn or 10.61 per cent of the country’s external debt exposure.

The bilateral agencies to which the country is indebted include the Export Import Bank of China, with a portfolio of $1.9bn; the Agence Francaise de Developppement, $274.98m; the Japan International Cooperation Agency, $77.6m; and Germany, with a portfolio of $92.94m.

Commercial loans now constitute 39.87 per cent of the country’s external debt exposure, with a value of $8.8bn. This reflects the recent trend that has seen the Federal Government increasingly issuing bonds denominated in dollars in the international capital market to raise required capital to fund budget gaps.

The commercial loans constitute of $8.5bn Eurobonds, while the Diaspora Bond through which the Federal Government borrowed from Nigerians living abroad constitutes $300m.

Three years ago, Eurobond was the only commercial loan available and it constituted 15.85 per cent of the country’s external debt exposure with a value of $1.5bn.

On the other hand, multilateral sources constituted 69.08 per cent of the country’s external debt exposure three years ago while bilateral sources made up 15.07 per cent of the country’s total foreign debt exposure of $9.46bn.

Meanwhile, the Acting Coordinator of the Youth Employment and Social Support Operations Programme of the Federal Government, Mrs Hajara Sami, has called on state governments to take advantage of the programme to reduce the level of poverty in their states.

She said this in Abuja at an event to review the 2018 second quarter performance report of the programme.

The seven-year programme, which started in 2013 and is being sponsored by the World Bank, is meant to reduce the number of the poor and vulnerable using improved safety net systems

About eight states have signed onto the programme.

The states are Bauchi, Kogi, Cross River, Ekiti, Kwara, Niger, Osun and Oyo.

Sami said, “The YESSO objective is basically to increase access to poor people from their households, poor individuals to employment strengthening social safety nets system; and also, the other part is to provide targeted grant transfer to the IDPs

“For states to benefit from this programme, they must show interest, commitment and be ready to pay a counterpart fund of 10 per cent of the total costs; presently, only eight states are benefiting across the country.

“We are using this medium to call on the state government to adhere to fulfilling the agreements that have been signed with them so that we will be able to achieve our objectives in this programme.”

She added that due to the credibility of the programme, data already collated by YESSO on the poor in the society as well as for the IDPs is now being used by the federal and state governments in selecting and getting beneficiaries for the National Cash Transfer programme.”

The Coordinator, National Social Safety Nets Coordinating Office, Iorwa Apera, said the programme had shown that investing in the youth and giving them building skills and employment was one of the most effective ways of addressing poverty and unemployment.

“We still need to do more but I think what is actually perhaps holding them (the World Bank) back is the urgent need for the participating states to contribute their counterpart funding to the programme so that we can quickly scale up the these activities within the states to meet the objectives.”

World Bank portfolio in Nigeria rises to $8.52bn World Bank portfolio in Nigeria rises to $8.52bn Reviewed by mujeeb Olagunju on July 25, 2018 Rating: 5

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