Country Director, World Bank Group, Mr Rachid Benmessaoud, yesterday said the bank’s net commitment to Nigeria’s economy over the years has risen to about $11 billion. He made the revelation on Thursday in Abuja at the maiden edition of the Nigeria Portfolio Performance Award.
The award organised in partnership with the Ministry of Finance, was to recognise and honour outstanding performance from project implementation units of 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.
Benmessaoud said that 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 that the bank’s portfolio in Nigeria was among the largest in the entire African region, having more than 30 operational projects.
He said that 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 that 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).
“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 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 that it was introduced to recognise the various entities 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 are 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.”