World Bank Group on Thursday said the bank’s net commitment to Nigeria over the years is about $11 billion, which was among the largest in the entire African region.
Speaking at the maiden edition of the Nigeria Portfolio Performance Award in Abuja, the Country Director, World Bank Group, Rachid Benmessaoud, said the portfolio had more than 30 operational projects.
The event which was organised in partnership with the Ministry of Finance was to recognise and honour outstanding performance from project implementation units of the World Bank-supported projects at states and federal levels.
According to him, the bank’s commitment is geared toward projects targeted at alleviating poverty and improving the lives of the people.
He said 60 per cent of the bank’s programmes were implemented at the state level and another 40 per cent by the Federal Government.
He said the projects cut across health, education, agriculture, social protection, energy, infrastructure, and governance among others in the 36 states of Nigeria, including the 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).
“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, the country director said it was introduced to recognise the various entities that were involved in implementing the bank’s programmes in terms of their performance.
“We have a number of criteria with which we have evaluated these entities and we felt that bringing all of these entities together into an award ceremony would help us to recognise all of the good works that all of them are doing and recognise those that have done something special that others can replicate.
“There is a lot of learning that we are emphasising in our engagements, states have to learn from each other and that is what we would like to create, space where the states can learn from each other.’’
He said the 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 exists at the state level.
Mr. Benmessaoud added that the awards would henceforth be an annual event.
The Permanent Secretary of the Federal Ministry of Finance, Mahmud Isa-Dutse, restated the ministry’s commitment to the World Bank in building an enabling environment to manage its portfolio in Nigeria.
He added that the ministry would assist the bank to deliver on all its projects implementation.