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States benefiting $4bn funding from World Bank — Governors’ forum

The 36 states of the country have received about $4bn funding from the World Bank, the Nigeria Governors’ Forum has said. Chairman of the forum…

The 36 states of the country have received about $4bn funding from the World Bank, the Nigeria Governors’ Forum has said.

Chairman of the forum and Governor of Ekiti State, Kayode Fayemi  disclosed this yesterday during an engagement meeting between the forum and the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation and the World Bank in Abuja.

He said the World Bank has been a major partner in the development programmes of all of states and that some states were benefiting from a range of grants.

He said, “Even the loans that we benefit from on the basis of the bank’s investments in our states, are long term moratorium with low interest over a long period of time to offset the loan portfolios. So it is important for us to work on that engagement both in terms of the lending operations, in terms of advisory activities, and in terms of the concrete action in our states.”

While saying that the bank has programme in all the 36 states of the country, he said governors value the partnership and would work towards improving on existing relationship to build on projects that have transitioned from one governor to the other.

He said periods of transition could be  challenging and it was  important to treat government as a continuum and address all gap.

“These are what came out from the investment/lending portfolio a programme for result portfolio which are two vehicles that the world bank uses in their relationship and support in our states.

“There is a question of course of also not having enough resources and the need to expand the lending portfolio from what it is now both to the federal government and the sub-national entity. It is absolutely important that that vehicle is not closed because if we can borrow from the world bank at one percent interest it is always going to be better for us than for us to borrowing at 25 percent commercial lending rate, that is a no brainer, we will all agree with that,” he said.

Fayemi said that the NGF has proposed a range of suggestions which the bank has taken up and would be implementing in order to strengthen the relationship built over the years.

World Bank Country Director, Rachid Benmessaoud said the bank’s mission was fighting poverty and building prosperity.

“We know that the number of poor people have increased in Nigeria though the trend is decreasing. So fighting poverty in Nigeria and Africa is going to be absolutely critical for reducing poverty globally. Therefore, our priorities which we have engaged with the governors will be around investing in human capital, investing in people to have access to basic education, health services, and social protection.”