Nigeria’s 1.5 billion dollar budget support loan request is “still in the works”, says Shubham Chaudhuri, World Bank Country Director for Nigeria.
Chaudhuri said this on Thursday in Abuja, at a media conference on the presentation of the World Bank Nigeria Development Update (NDU) for December.
The report titled “Rising to the Challenge: Nigeria’s COVID response” took stock of recently implemented reforms and proposes policy options to mitigate the impact of COVID-19 and foster a resilient, sustainable and inclusive recovery.
Chaudhuri said that the loan request was taking so long because, irrespective of the bold actions taken by the government in the form of reforms to cushion the effects of the pandemic, the bank still had its reservations.
“I think the way that our board and our shareholders have approached this budget support, is really to say has the country that is requesting the support done all it can to help itself?
“Think of it this way, when you have say a 10 or 15 billion dollar hole, 1.5 billion dollars is just a little bit of that, the question is how is the rest of that hole being made up?
“What is the sustainability in 2021 and beyond? And that is why we are thinking about the overall prospects going forward, in terms of the macro adequacy and the flexibility and exchange rate management.
“That is why our shareholders and our management are still saying we recognise how much Nigeria has done, but for this 1.5 billion dollars to really be a part of the larger effort to put Nigeria on a sound macro-fiscal footing going forward, there needs to be a little bit more.”
Chaudhuri, however, said that the 1.5 billion dollars slated for presentation to the Bank’s board for approval on Dec. 14 was not the 1.5 billion dollars for budget support, but two separate 750 million dollar credit to support state government efforts.