EletiofeAfDB says its $4.4bn investment in Nigeria largest among...

AfDB says its $4.4bn investment in Nigeria largest among regional members

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Barrow commended President Bola Tinubu’s administration for the bold reforms initiated to address macroeconomic imbalances and structural issues in the economy.

President Bola Tinubu and African Development Bank (AfDB) President, Dr Akinwumi Adesina. [Presidency]

Lamin Barrow, Director-General, Nigeria Country Department of AfDB said this during the Joint Country Portfolio Performance Review (CPPR) Workshop on Friday in Abuja.

Barrow said this comprised 48 operations fairly evenly distributed between public and private sector operations.

According to the director-general, some of the portfolio performance metrics have improved since the 2022 CPPR Workshop.

He said: ”In particular, operations flagged for implementation challenges decreased from 36 per cent in January to 32 per cent in September.

“This is a result of collective efforts from the Federal Ministry of Finance, the Executing Agencies and the Bank to reduce start-up and implementation delays.

” Indeed, the time taken to meet loan effectiveness and first disbursement conditions tend to be excessive. Let me acknowledge the unprecedented recent development with the FEC approval of the Ekiti Knowledge Zone project.”

Barrow said that the share of start-up delays had been reduced from 32 per cent of flagged operations in June to 28 per cent in October.

He said it was expected to reach eight per cent by the end of 2023 with timely and targeted actions for some projects.

He noted that in spite of the progress, the Bank was yet to hit its target for flagged operations of 20 per cent.

‘‘Since the outbreak of the COVID-19 pandemic, annual disbursements have gradually increased; from UA 93 million in 2021 to UA 143 million in 2022 and are projected to reach UA165 million by the end of December.

”Fiduciary compliance has also improved with progress observed in the submission rate of audited financial statements by the Executing/Implementing Agencies for Financial Years 2021 and 2022.

‘‘In the area of Environmental and Social Safeguards, the enhanced collaboration between the Bank and the Ministry of Environment has facilitated the disclosure of safeguard instruments.

”Especially Environmental and Social Impact Assessments (ESIAs) and Resettlement Action Plans (RAPs) projects in a timely manner,” he said.

Barrow commended President Bola Tinubu’s administration for the bold reforms initiated to address macroeconomic imbalances and structural issues in the economy.

He said these reforms, particularly the removal of fuel subsidies and unification of exchange rates, would help reignite a higher economic growth trajectory, despite the short-term pains to the population.

The director-general therefore expressed hope that the meeting would accelerate delivery of results on the ground for the people of Nigeria.

Also speaking, the Director of the International Economic Relations Department (IERD), Federal Ministry of Finance, Budget and National Planning, Stanley George, commended AfDB’s partnership towards achieving Nigeria’s national development priorities.

George decried some of the challenges preventing seamless Implementations of the portfolio while hoping that the workshop would provide the platform that would address them.

He listed some of the challenges including a long Implementation period, low disbursement rate, poor communication with the various MDAs and issues of ineligible expenditures.

‘‘Today’s meeting therefore is to present implementation progress, discuss some of these challenges, the opportunities that are there for us to move the portfolio in the desired direction.

”And how best we can foster maximum development impact to move Nigeria forward through these complementary efforts.

”The portfolio of over 4 billion dollars is a loan to be paid by our children and grandchildren. The least we can do for them is to ensure that these projects are implemented in a timely manner.

” So that the outcomes will improve the quality of lives of the people. Outcome orientation should be the watchword,” he said.

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