The World Bank has pledged to support Nigeria’s power sector and infrastructure development with about $1.4m, the Minister of Finance, Dr. Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala, announced in Washington DC, United States of America.
The minister said this when she briefed newsmen on Nigeria’s delegation meeting with the bank at the Annual meeting of the World Bank and the International Monetary Fund, the News Agency of Nigeria reported.
She said the World Bank was planning to set up a global infrastructural facility and Nigeria would be among the first countries to benefit considering its population and infrastructure needs.
“The World Bank Group, that is the World Bank and the International Finance Corporation, through the World Bank president, has made it known that they want Nigeria to be one of the focus countries in sub- Saharan Africa.
“This means that they are willing to work with Nigeria to invest hundreds of millions of dollars.
“They have a lending programme of about a billion dollars a year but they are willing to use that and pull in more resources from the US through the Power Africa Initiative, using the offices of the IFC to help us address infrastructure problems.
“They want to concentrate on power, and they are already actively working with several private companies that want to work in Nigeria.
“They are also promising to give us another $700m guarantee from the International Bank for Reconstruction and Development for the power sector as well as expressing the willingness to invest another $700m in the transmission sector,” she said.
She added that the meeting also discussed how to improve the bank’s social safety network programme in Nigeria.
Okonjo-Iweala said that the bank and the Federal Government would collaborate on a $400m social safety net programme, which would key into the existing programmes running in the country.
The programmes, she said, included saving one million lives; instant cash transfers, improving nutrition for children, immunisation, HIV/Aids and anti-malaria programmes, among others.
She said the programme under conditional cash transfer would be used to scale up the project on cash transfer in education in Kano State in order to improve the number of out-of-school children, especially the girls.
According to Okonjo-Iweala, Nigeria also got pledges from the bank to help improve statistics.
The minister reiterated that the 2013 budget was on course, describing some speculations on the budget in the media as false.
“We have spoken to the National Assembly on the amendments and they have done something and we have decided to continue with the implementation.
“Please, 2013 budget is being implemented; what is being perpetrated by a section of the press that somehow the 2013 budget has fallen apart and not implemented is false.
“This budget is being implemented, it still has some issues here and there but we’ve decided to go ahead to find a solution and take care of the missing money to pay people involved under the SURE-P programme,” she said.
Information from Punch was used in this report.