Mr Rachid Benmessaoud, Country Director, World Bank Group, says the bank’s net commitment to Nigeria over the years is about 11 billion dollars.
He said this on Thursday in Abuja at the maiden edition of the Nigeria Portfolio Performance Award.
Organised in partnership with the Ministry of Finance, the award was to recognise and honour outstanding performance from project implementation units of World Bank supported projects at states and federal levels.
According to him, the bank’s commitment is geared toward projects targeted at alleviating poverty and improving the lives of the people.
He said that 60 per cent of the bank’s programmes were implemented at the state level and another 40 per cent by the Federal Government.
Benmessaoud said that the bank’s portfolio in Nigeria was among the largest in the entire African region, adding that it had more than 30 operational projects.
He said that the projects cut across health, education, agriculture, social protection, energy, infrastructure, and governance among others in the 36 states of Nigeria, including the FCT.
He also said that the bank was working toward a new country partnership framework that would outline the new reform challenges that the government faces and how it could support it in implementing solutions to the challenges.
“The country partnership strategy is always anchored on the economic reform plan of the government and in this case, we have used the Economic Recovery and Growth Plan (ERGP).
“Which is the medium term programme of the government on which we are anchoring our country partnership framework.
“We have plans to scale up our commitment but you know the scale up is not only about funding.
“One can say it is really important to realise that even if we scale up, it will not be sufficient to address the large gap that is needed to be filled.
“We feel that the world bank can play a catalytic role in creating a conducive environment for private sector to finance infrastructure so that we can create the fiscal space for the government to put more money in human capital and in social spending.’’
Speaking about the awards, the country director said that it was introduced to recognise the various entities that were involved in implementing the bank’s programmes in terms of their performance.
“We have a number of criteria with which we have evaluated these entities and we felt that bringing all of these entities together into an award ceremony would help us to recognise all of the good works that all of them are doing and recognise those that have done something special that others can replicate.
“There is a lot of learning that we are emphasising in our engagements, states have to learn from each other and that is what we would like to create, the space where the states can learn from each other.’’
Benmessaoud added that the awards would henceforth be an annual event.
Mr Mahmud Isa-Dutse, the Permanent Secretary, Ministry of Finance, restated the ministry’s commitment to the World Bank in building an enabling environment to manage its portfolio in Nigeria.
He added that the ministry would assist the bank deliver on all its projects implementation.
Mr Nasir El-Rufai, Governor of Kaduna Sate while speaking with newsmen on the sidelines of the event said it was an excellent idea that would make the states to compete at the level of governance.
He also said that the awards would make the state governors interested in World Bank projects and utilise them.
“One of the things I found upon taking office about four years ago was that most governors do not know what is going on as far as World Bank financed projects are concerned.
“Often you find large amounts of money sitting idle that can be used for the benefit of the state that the governors are not aware of.
“The more the states carry out their projects, the more impact they will have on social sectors because most of the projects financed by the World Bank are targeted at social sectors like education, health care, nutrition and so on.’’
El-Rufai said that the Nigerian Governor’s Forum (NGF) was currently more aware of the bank’s projects because of the bank’s constant briefings, but that some governors engaged more than others as some were hands-on while some were a bit disconnected.
“My appeal to my colleagues is that they should take charge of their World Bank projects and other multi-laterally financed projects so that they will know what is happening.
“I get monthly briefings in Kaduna about our projects and that is why we got some recognition for our level of coordination.’’
The governor, however, said that the projects contributed to alleviating poverty although there were many components to alleviating poverty.
According to him, the nation’s growth rate of 2.6 per cent as a country is too low and with population growth rate higher than that, the economy needs to grow more.
“It is a significant part and we all appreciate it but we need to do much more. One single intervention cannot alleviate poverty, you need many interventions at the same time.’’
Mr Mohammed Geidam, Permanent Secretary, Ministry of Finance, Yobe said the state clinched so many awards as a result of the hard work of its team in the state.
He said that the state had been devastated by Boko Haram and tried to make good use of any resource that came to it to better the lives of the people.
“It is an avenue from not only the World Bank, but other development partner sources are seriously tapped.
“The situation in our state was so devastating even before the Boko Haram issue and the state was classified as one of the poor states in the country and with the insurgency, the state went farther down.
“We are doing our best to make sure that the little resources we are getting from the federation account and the development partners are harnessed to bring our people out of abject poverty we are currently in.’’
The Nigeria News Agency , reports that the best performing state on disbursement North Nigeria by volume went to Yobe, Southern Nigeria by volume went to Oyo state and by disbursement ratio to Ebonyi.
The overall best performing state across the federation for Investment Project Financing Instrument went to Yobe, while Performance for Result Instrument and best state coordination mecahnism went to Kaduna State.
Edited by Ese E. Ekama
CBN injects $297.92 into secondary market
The Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN), has injected 297.92 million dollars into the retail Secondary Market Intervention Sales (SMIS).
The bank’s Director, Corporate Communications Department, Mr Isaac Okorafor made this known in a statement in Abuja on Friday.
Okarafor disclosed that CBN also injected CNY21.2million in the spot and short-tenured forwards segment of the inter-bank foreign market.
According to him, the United States dollars-denominated transactions are to meet requests in the agricultural and raw materials sectors, while those in Chinese Yuan are for Renminbi-denominated Letters of Credit.
The director reiterated that the bank’s management was satisfied with the continued stability in the foreign exchange market.
He assured that the CBN remained committed to meeting foreign exchange needs of all sectors of the economy.
Meanwhile, N358 was exchanged to a dollar, while CNY1 exchanged at N46 at the Bureau De Change (BDC) segment of the foreign exchange market on Friday.
No electricity tariff increase has been approved yet —— NERC
The Nigerian Electricity Regulatory Commission (NERC), says no tariff increase has been approved by the commission yet.
In a statement, Mr Usman Arabi, NERC’s General Manager, Public Affairs, however, in a statement on Friday in Abuja said it was still consulting with stakeholders.
He said that the commission wished to notify the public that no tariff increase had been approved by the commission contrary to the impression in some quarters.
“However, the commission in the discharge of its statutory responsibilities enshrined under the Electric Power Sector Reform (EPSR) Act, shall continue to undertake periodic reviews of electricity tariffs in accordance with prevailing tariff methodology.
`In all instances of such reviews and rule-making, the commission shall widely consult stakeholders and final decision shall be taken with due regard of all contributions,” he said. .
Arabi said that the commission wished to provide guidance that the minor review implemented by the commission was a retrospective adjustment of the tariff regime released in 2015
He said that this was to account for changes in macroeconomic indices for 2016, 2017 and 2018, “thus providing certainty about revenue shortfall that may have arisen due to the differential between tariffs approved by the regulator and actual end-user tariffs,” he said
NSE: Market indices upbeat, up by 0.62%
Trading on the Nigerian Stock Exchange (NSE), for the third consecutive days, maintained a bullish trend to close the week upbeat.
The Nigeria News Agency reports that the crucial market indices on Friday appreciated further with a growth of 0.62 per cent.
Specifically, the market capitalisation of listed equities inched N33 billion or 0.62 per cent to N13.524 trillion from N13.441 trillion achieved on Thursday.
Also, the All-Share Index rose by 170.51 points or 0.62 per cent to close at 27, 800.17 points against 27,629.66 posted on Thursday.
An analysis of the price movement table shows that Nestle led the gainers’ table, growing by N10 to close at N1, 230 per share.
Unilever followed with a gain of N2.45 to close at N29.45, Guaranty Trust Bank gained 90k to close at N27.90 per share.
Forte Oil improved by 66k to close at N16, while C & I Leasing also added 60k to close N7.30 per share.
Conversely, Dangote Cement Industry recorded the highest loss to lead the losers’ table, declining by 50k to close at N166.50 per share.
Continental Reinsurance trailed with a loss of 10k to close at N1.50, while Dangote Sugar Refinery was down by 10k to close at N1.30 per share.
Triple Gee lost 7k to close at 63k, while Unity Bank declined by 6k to close at 63k per share.
Similarly, the volume of shares traded closed higher with a total of 1.24 billion shares valued at N3.29 billion in 3,644 deals.
This was in contrast with 272.60 million shares worth N4.49 billion exchanged in 3,425 deals on Thursday.
Sovereign Trust Insurance Plc was the most active stock, trading 900.02 million shares valued at N216 million.
FBN Holding followed with an account of 80.12 million shares worth N401.08 million, while Courtville traded 55.07 million shares valued at N12.11 million.
Access Bank sold 36.42 million shares worth N236.89 million, while Transcorp exchanged 34.56 million shares valued at N36.94 million.
Edited by Olagoke Olatoye