Everest Amaefule and Bayo Akinloye
The World Bank on Tuesday approved $961m loan to support the implementation of Nigeria’s Economic Recovery and Growth Plan 2017-2020.
A statement made available to our correspondents on Wednesday by the Senior Communications Officer at the World Bank office in Nigeria, Olufunke Olufon, said the fund would go into two programme-for-results operations totalling $961m.
One of the programmes is the Better Education Service Delivery for All, which will receive $611m. The programme aims to bring out-of-school children into the classroom, improve literacy, and strengthen accountability for results in basic education.
In 2013, 13.2 million school-age children were out of school, the overwhelming majority of who were in the North where out-of-school children rates were also higher among girls, in rural areas and form poor families, the bank said.
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The second benefitting programme is the Kaduna State Economic Transformation Programme for Results, which will receive $350m credit. It focuses on enhancing private sector investment in Kaduna State through improved business environment, effective budget planning and execution, and fiscal accountability.
According to the bank, Kaduna State has taken a number of reform actions to improve its economic performance and social outcomes, and sustain the efforts.
The World Bank Country Director for Nigeria, Rachid Benmessaoud, was quoted to have said, “Investing in human capital and creating economic opportunities for all are key areas of focus to achieve more inclusive and private-sector led growth.
“These two operations support the government’s economic and growth recovery plan and will help Nigeria achieve sustainable and measurable results.”
The bank added that both operations implemented results-based financing, whereby disbursement of funds was linked to the achievement of tangible and verifiable results.
As a first phase for addressing out-of-school children in Nigeria, the BESDA aims to help enhance the effectiveness and efficiency of the federal Universal Basic Education Programme through incentivising results at the state level and thereby reduce the number of out-of-school children by roughly one third by 2022, the bank said.
The Kaduna operation, on the other hand, will support the state’s ambitious reform efforts to increase both private investments for job creation and revenue generation, the bank said, adding that it would also strengthen budget performance and fiscal accountability through citizen engagement.