The Country Director, World Bank Group, Mr Rachid Benmessaoud, says the bank’s net commitment to Nigeria over the years is about $11bn.
He said this on Thursday in Abuja at the maiden edition of the Nigeria Portfolio Performance Award.
Organised in partnership with the Ministry of Finance, the award was to recognise and honour outstanding performance from project implementation units of World Bank supported projects at states and federal levels.
Benmessaoud said 60 per cent of the bank’s programmes were implemented at the state level and the remaining 40 per cent by the Federal Government.
He said that the bank’s portfolio in Nigeria was among the largest in the entire African region, adding that it had more than 30 operational projects.
The World Bank boss said that the projects cut across health, education, agriculture, social protection, energy, infrastructure, and governance among others in the 36 states of Nigeria, including the FCT.
He also said that the bank was working toward a new country partnership framework that would outline the new reform challenges that the government faces and how it could support it in implementing solutions to the challenges.
He said, “The country partnership strategy is always anchored on the economic reform plan of the government and in this case, we have used the Economic Recovery and Growth Plan.
“We have plans to scale up our commitment but you know the scale up is not only about funding.”
Speaking about the awards, the country director said that it was introduced to recognise the various entities that were involved in implementing the bank’s programmes in terms of their performance.
“We have a number of criteria with which we have evaluated these entities and we felt that bringing all of these entities together into an award ceremony would help us to recognise all of the good works that all of them are doing and recognise those that have done something special that others can replicate,” he added.
He said that the states were evaluated based on their investments, quality of briefings that they prepared for reporting to their boss (governor/commissioner) and quality of mechanisms existing at the state level.
Benmessaoud added that the awards would henceforth be an annual event.
Nasir el-Rufai, Governor of Kaduna Sate while speaking with newsmen on the sidelines of the event said it was an excellent idea that would make the states to compete at the level of governance.
He also said that the awards would make the state governors interested in World Bank projects and utilise them.
El-Rufai said, “One of the things I found upon taking office about four years ago was that most governors do not know what is going on as far as World Bank financed projects are concerned.
“Often, you find large amounts of money sitting idle that can be used for the benefit of the state that the governors are not aware of.
“The more the states carry out their projects, the more impact they will have on social sectors because most of the projects financed by the World Bank are targeted at social sectors like education, health care, nutrition and so on.’’
El-Rufai said that the Nigerian Governor’s Forum was currently more aware of the bank’s projects because of the bank’s constant briefings, adding that some governors, however, were engaged more than others as some were hands-on while some were a bit disconnected.
The News Agency of Nigeria reports that the best performing state on disbursement North Nigeria by volume went to Yobe, Southern Nigeria by volume went to Oyo state and by disbursement ratio to Ebonyi.
The overall best performing state across the federation for Investment Project Financing Instrument went to Yobe while Performance for Result Instrument and best state coordination mechanism went to Kaduna State.