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FG approves $3.45bn World Bank loan to boost power, other sectors

Nigeria, Tanzania top recipients of World bank financing in 2022

The Federal Executive Council, yesterday, accepted a $3.45 billion loan proposal to fund five projects.

Projects in the power industry, renewable energy, state resource mobilisation, teenage girls’ initiative for learning and development, and a women’s empowerment project are among them.

Wale Edun, Minister of Finance and Coordinating Minister of the Economy, told State House correspondents that the FG will accept the $3.5 billion “zero-interest” loan with a 10-year moratorium, with payments beginning in 2033.

“Today at the Federal Executive Council, I presented five memos which were gracefully approved by the Council. They had to do with concessional and, in many cases, zero-interest financing by the World Bank and the International Development Association, which is the very concessional financing arm,” he said.

“The projects that were approved for funding were in the power sector and then the renewable energy sector. There was funding for states for resource mobilisation programmes to help them with the internally-generated revenue efforts.

“There was a project for adolescent girls’ initiative for learning and empowerment. And then finally the fifth financing that was approved was for the Women project.”

The Finance Minister went on to say that the $700 million girls’ program would help young girls in secondary school gain marketable skills in addition to their academic successes.

Edun put a price tag on the project, saying, “$700m is the size of the current project.”

“So those were five loans totalling $3.45bn. And as you know, the tenure is all around 40 years, with a moratorium period of around 10 years and interest very low, or in the cases of loans, zero interest. However, some fees would be incurred,” he added.

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Tahir Mamman, Minister of Education, went on to say that the girls’ initiative, which began in seven states initially, has now been expanded to 11 states.

“Initially, from seven participating states, we will now have about 11 additional states participating in this project, which will lead to the empowerment of girls between 10 to 20 right across the participating states.

“This is a very major escalation of this programme that is meant to empower our girls, our teachers and the provision for additional schools in the country,” said Mamman.

The Federal Executive Council also approved the establishment of the Humanitarian and Poverty Alleviation Fund, with the goal of raising $5 billion per year for emergency humanitarian interventions.

Betta Edu, the Minister of Humanitarian Affairs and Poverty Alleviation, announced this, saying that the funds would come from the government, development partners, corporate sectors, and individuals, among other sources.

Edu said that the fund, which will be a type of flexible financing, will enable the government to respond to humanitarian situations in an emergency.

“The Humanitarian and Poverty Alleviation Trusts Fund is a flexible form of financing that can help us get contributions from different sectors. So we’re going to have contributions from the government, from the private sector, development partners, individuals, philanthropic individuals, and other innovative forms of crowd-funding and pooling of funds together. This is to allow for an emergency response to the humanitarian crisis in Nigeria.

“Every other day, we hear about the crisis, the floods and the rest of it. We need to be able to respond adequately as a country. Beyond this, the issue of poverty alleviation is one of the agendas of President Bola Ahmed Tinubu in his 8-point agenda and we want to be able to tackle it headlong.

“How much are we looking at? Every year, we hope to be able to raise at least $5bn within this fund and this is from the various sources that I’ve mentioned and even more. We are hopeful that with the creation of this funding, we can sit down with all the key stakeholders, including other ministries, and actually work out the full modality of implementation in Nigeria,” the minister said.

Read also: N2.26trn loans secured by real estate companies in 8 months

Meanwhile, the Federal Government adopted a draft policy for the Nigeria Solid Minerals industry, which covers operations, rules, and regulatory framework, as well as sourcing and other sector dynamics.

Dele Alake, Minister of Solid Minerals Development, explained this to journalists, adding that the FG is willing to invest in technology to secure the Nigerian mining area.

Alake highlighted illegal foreign miners as key perpetrators of illicit mining activities around the country, adding that technology has allowed the authorities to interpret their plans.

“We are injecting a large dose of technology. We see the challenges of a porous border; the incident of illegal mining is pervasive in rural areas. The government has also traced the incidents of banditry to the handiwork of illegal miners, especially foreign illegal miners who sponsored banditry in the local areas.

“With the mindset of driving away the local population and moving in to explore, it’s technology that is helping us decipher these.

“We are working with the National security adviser, the Inspector General of Police,” he said.