The World Bank is willing to invest $510m, in three tranches, in the Lake Chad Basin to address insecurity, desertification and humanitarian challenges, among others.

Nigerian Minister of Finance, Budget and National Planning, Zainab Ahmed, disclosed this yesterday in Washington DC at a press briefing on the sidelines of the 2019 World Bank/IMF meetings.

“The initial tranche is $170m but it is going to go into three tranches. And it is to help these four countries, Nigeria, Cameron, Niger and Chad to solve some of the problems that we have now within that region and these include; security. Of course, security is the business of government, but the reason we have security is the lack of economic activity.

“Part of the fund will be used to build common Infrastructure so there will be roads linking the four countries, it will also include providing support to the communities to enhance resilience and there will be livelihood support to the people in the four countries,” she said

She said the Federal Government planned to raise its $3bn World Bank loan request for the power sector to $4bn.

She said the loan would be used to finance transmission, distribution and offsetting pending obligations to the sector, adding that it would also help the government to end the subsidy regime in the sector.

“And if we are able to expand the amount to $4bn, the additional $1bn is for the distribution network. So, it will help us to exit the subsidy that is now inherent in the power sector” she said.

She said the government planned to issue naira denominated bonds to fund budgets.

“We are contemplating such a bond. There have been proposals made to us, not just by the UK government, but by the Dutch Bank and the World Bank.”

On the forecast by the IMF that global economic growth was projected to slow down from 3.6 percent in 2018 to 3.0 percent in 2019, she said the government was working to mitigate impacts on Nigerian economy.

On the border closure, the borders would be opened when the Nigeria’s neighbours commit to best practices.

“The commitment that we had with these countries is that goods can come through their borders into Nigeria but in sealed containers where the Nigerian Customs can inspect and charge duties. But that is not what is happening. They allow containers to be opened and allow goods to be smuggled beyond the formal borders through illegal routes.”

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