- World Bank Approves $2.1bn Loan for Seven Nigerian Projects
The World Bank has announced the approval of $2.1bn loan for seven projects to be executed in Nigeria.
A statement issued in Abuja on Thursday said the loans were approved in Washington DC on Wednesday and were for seven projects to support Nigeria’s investment in nutrition, access to electricity, states’ fiscal transparency, polio eradication, women’s economic empowerment, public finance and national statistics, and reducing vulnerability to soil erosion.
The World Bank Country Director for Nigeria, Rachid Benmessaoud, was quoted to have said, “The Federal Government of Nigeria’s Economic Recovery and Growth Plan identifies human capital investment, restoring growth and building a competitive economy as its key pillars.
“This vision for a healthy, educated, productive and resilient population must be complemented by credible governance in order to attract private sector participation and ensure sustainable growth. The approved projects support the implementation of the government’s growth plan.”
According to the statement, the World Bank Group has extended its Country Partnership Strategy for Nigeria until June 30, 2019.
It added that during 2018 and 2019, the WBG support would focus on revenue diversification and mobilisation, addressing the binding constraints for attracting private financing, and improving social services delivery for building the human capital needed for inclusive economic growth in alignment with the ERGP.
The approved programme of support in 2018 comprises the following projects: the State Fiscal Transparency, Accountability and Sustainability Project, which is expected to help increase efficiency in spending, strengthen revenue mobilisation (of critical importance for the delivery of health, education, water and other services) and debt sustainability in participating states. The project will be financed through an International Development Association credit of $750m.
The Fiscal Governance and Institutions Project is expected to improve the credibility of public finance and national statistics in the country.
The project is expected to increase revenue and capital expenditure outturn; strengthen fiscal accountability, including expenditure effectiveness, and to improve the quality of statistical information, which will contribute to evidence-based policy making. It will be financed through an IDA credit of $125m.
The Nigeria Erosion and Watershed Management Project is expected to promote innovative integrated approaches based on international best practices and community participation to tackle land degradation and major gully erosion formations in participating states. The project will receive IDA additional financing credit of $400m.
The Nigeria Electrification Project will leverage private sector investments in solar mini grids and stand-alone solar systems to provide electricity to 2.5 million people and 70,000 Micro, Small and Medium Enterprises. It will be financed through an IDA credit of $350m.
The Accelerating Nutrition Results in Nigeria Project is expected to benefit over 8.7 million people, mostly pregnant and lactating women, adolescent girls and children below five years old. The financing for the project consists of an IDA credit of $225m and a Global Financing Facility grant of $7m.
The Nigeria Polio Eradication Support Project is expected to help improve immunisation coverage with oral vaccines to the national target of 85 per cent in 18 months. It is receiving IDA additional financing credit of $150m.
The Nigeria for Women Project is expected to directly impact 324,000 women beneficiaries through investments in comprehensive skills training, the leverage of financial and technical resources, and support to policy dialogue on women’s economic empowerment. The project is receiving an IDA credit of $100m.
NLNG Boosts Cooking Gas Production to 1.5 Million Metric Tonnes Annually
Nigeria Liquefied Natural Gas Limited (NLNG) has announced a significant milestone in its operations, boosting its annual production of liquefied petroleum gas (LPG), commonly known as cooking gas, to over 1.5 million metric tonnes.
This surge in production underscores NLNG’s commitment to meeting the rising demand for clean cooking energy in Nigeria.
The entirety of NLNG’s 1.5 million tonnes production is now being sold domestically within Nigeria.
Moreover, the company has initiated a landmark shift by starting to supply LPG in naira, moving away from the traditional practice of trading in United States dollars.
This move aligns with calls from stakeholders in the oil and power sectors advocating for naira transactions, especially amidst the challenges posed by currency fluctuations.
During a panel session at the 7th Nigeria International Energy Summit in Abuja, NLNG’s General Manager of Finance, Fatima Adanan, highlighted the company’s dedication to enhancing LPG penetration across the country.
Adanan emphasized NLNG’s vision to make Nigeria a better place by promoting the use of cleaner energy sources like gas.
While NLNG’s production surge is commendable, Adanan acknowledged that Nigeria’s LPG requirements surpass the current output, necessitating imports to bridge the gap.
However, NLNG remains committed to expanding its production capacity to meet the nation’s energy needs and drive increased adoption of LPG as a cleaner cooking fuel.
CBN Raises Benchmark Interest Rate by 400 Basis Points to 22.75%
The Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) has raised the benchmark interest rate by 400 basis points to a record 22.75%.
The decision made by the Monetary Policy Committee (MPC) comes amidst rising inflationary pressures and growing uncertainty in Africa’s largest economy.
Nigeria’s inflation rate rose to 29.90% in January 2024, the highest in over two decades while the nation’s unemployment rate quickened to 5% in the third quarter of 2023. Suggesting that the rising costs have continued to drag on both new job creation and the existing ones.
This coupled with a series of policy adjustments implemented by President Bola Ahmed Tinubu has plunged economic productivity and eroded consumer spending as citizens grapple with high fuel prices, electricity tariffs, a record-high foreign exchange rate, and insecurities.
Therefore, it is surprising that the Monetary Policy Committee (MPC) led by the CBN will further increase borrowing costs by 400 basis points at a time when job creation is paramount.
While the economy reportedly grew by 3.46% in the fourth quarter (Q4) of 2023 on the back of robust performance of the services sector, this growth is yet to crystalise as businesses and citizens have taken to the street protest against the harsh economic situation.
Economic experts have started questioning the data from the National Bureau of Statistics (NBS) given its lack of correlation between the data and economic reality.
President Tinubu Unveils Geometric Power Plant in Aba After 20-Year Wait
After two decades of anticipation, President Bola Tinubu, through his representative Vice President Kashim Shettima, inaugurated the long-awaited Geometric Power Plant in Aba, a significant milestone in the city’s quest for reliable electricity supply.
The event, which also saw the commissioning of three rehabilitated roads by Abia State Governor Alex Otti, symbolizes the culmination of years of perseverance and determination to transform Aba’s power landscape.
Addressing the audience, Vice President Shettima hailed the project as a testament to the power of visionary leadership and unwavering commitment to progress.
He said the Geometric Power Plant exemplifies the transformative impact of strategic infrastructure investments on local communities.
Governor Otti echoed similar sentiments, emphasizing the importance of the power project in positioning Aba as a hub for national and international business ventures.
He commended the efforts of Geometric Power Limited while urging them to uphold transparency and avoid exploiting consumers.
The inauguration of the Geometric Power Plant comes amidst growing concerns over Nigeria’s power infrastructure and the need for sustainable solutions to address electricity shortages.
The project, with a capacity of 188MW, holds promise for significant improvements in power supply across Abia State, benefitting nine out of seventeen local government areas.
The Managing Director of Geometric Power Limited, Ben Caven, underscored the scale of investment involved, totaling $800 million.
He highlighted the comprehensive nature of the project, which includes the installation of new power substations and a 27km natural gas pipeline, signaling a comprehensive approach to enhancing Aba’s energy infrastructure.
In conclusion, the inauguration of the Geometric Power Plant represents a transformative moment for Aba, offering renewed hope for economic growth and prosperity powered by reliable electricity supply.
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