Why We Spent $11bn on Nigerian States – World Bank Group

World Bank Group’s Country Director Rachid Benmessaoud, has explained its reasons for spending a whopping $11 billion on developmental projects in across Nigeria.

Speaking at the maiden edition of the Nigeria Portfolio Performance Award in Abuja recently, Rachid noted that the spendings were in light with the World Bank’s commitment to projects targeted at alleviating poverty and improving the lives of the Nigerian people.

The programme which was organised in partnership with the ministry of finance, the award recognised outstanding performance from project implementation units of World Bank-supported projects at states and federal levels.

Benmessaoud noted that 60% of the bank’s programmes were implemented at the state level and the remaining 40% by the federal government.

According to the director, the projects cut across health, education, agriculture, social protection, energy, infrastructure, and governance in the 36 states and FCT.

He also said 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),” he explained.

“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 the 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, Benmessaoud said it was introduced to recognise the entities involved in implementing the bank’s programmes.

He said states were evaluated based on their investments, quality of briefings that they prepared for reporting to their boss (governor/commissioner) and quality of mechanisms that exist at the state level.

Speaking at the event, Mahmud Isa-Dutse, permanent secretary of the ministry of finance, said the ministry would assist the bank to deliver on all its projects implementation.

NAN reports that Yobe was named the best-performing state on disbursement (North Nigeria); Oyo won the southern category and by disbursement ratio to Ebonyi.

Best performing state by region for north-east went to Yobe, north-west to Kano, north central to Kogi, south west to Oyo, south south to Akwa Ibom and south east 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 mechanism went to Kaduna State.

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