• Friday, July 19, 2024
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FG, World Bank arm in talks over infrastructure financing

FG, World Bank arm in talks over infrastructure financing

The federal government has held talks with the Multilateral Investment Guarantee Agency (MIGA) – an investment arm of the World Bank – to explore the possibility of tapping its resources for infrastructure development in Nigeria.

The talks were held in Washington as part of a series of engagements by the Nigerian delegation during the ongoing Spring Meetings of the International Monetary Fund (IMF) and the World Bank.

Nigeria’s public infrastructure deficit is huge and has become a major concern, with the funding required estimated at between $100 to $150 billion per annum for at least the next 10 years to close the gap.

MIGA is a member of the World Bank Group that promotes cross-border investment in developing countries by providing guarantees (political risk insurance and credit enhancement) to investors and lenders.

“I also had bilateral meetings with MIGA to consider how best Nigeria can leverage MIGA resources in infrastructure investment and discussed some pipelines,” Zainab Ahmed, minister of finance, budget and national planning, told journalists in Washington during the meetings.

The minister, however, did not give details and outcomes of the talks, but also met with senior management of the International Finance Corporation (IFC) and its vice president for Africa, where they agreed to grow Nigeria’s portfolio in the real sector.

Preliminary conversations were also held on the possibility of IFC’s visibility in the aviation and maritime sectors, especially in the newly modernised airports and some of the seaports in Nigeria.

Ahmed facilitated the dialogue between the newly inaugurated Ministry of Finance Incorporated and IFC, which is the private sector lending arm of the World Bank for developing countries, though she did not disclose the outcomes of the meeting.

There were also preliminary discussions with Shelter Afrique on the need to explore an innovative housing programme for the internally displaced persons and support the affordable housing scheme, as well as conversations on the need to scale up technical assistance for the Federal Inland Revenue Service and Nigeria Customs Service in growing the revenue potentials of the country at the Fiscal Affairs Department of the IMF.

At the International Monetary and Financial Committee, where she represented 22 member countries, the minister spoke on the need to monitor financial stability risks and the need for moderation, open and rule-based trading system to allow for the free flow of essential supplies.

She also called for the speedy implementation of the G20 Common Framework on debts.

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While raising concerns on delays in debt restructuring for some countries, she encouraged cooperation between creditors and the affected countries to ensure completion of the programmes.

She used the opportunity to highlight macro-economic development in Nigeria including ongoing engagements with all critical stakeholders on the need to mobilise additional resources to remove the fuel subsidies and free up resources for investment in the social sector.

The minister and Godwin Emefiele, governor of the Central Bank of Nigeria, said they were impressed with the retention of the IMF growth forecast for Nigeria at 3 percent, which, according to them, is consistent with government’s internal projections, even though the country desires a higher GDP growth.

Meanwhile, the federal government’s transition committee members were also present at the Spring Meetings where authorities showcased the investment potential of the country, the current challenges and how they are being tackled.

Speaking on the transition team, Ahmed stated: “We also understand they had meetings, they also joined some of our meetings but they didn’t join all of our meetings.

“The good thing in Nigeria today is that this transition process is guided by executive order. The executive order requires that there is a joint transition team. So the transition team is both the incoming as well as the outgoing administration.

“And when we were preparing for this meeting, they sent a formal request that they wanted to participate and we welcomed it. And because of that, we organised some of the meetings to have them involved in.

“They were all part of the bilateral meetings we had today. We also had conversations with them including members of the Transition Team on potential priorities of government and requested for the understanding and strong support of the development and business community for the incoming government.”