Monday, June 21, 2021

    Nigeria approves purchase of $50.6m shares in W’Bank’s IBRD

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    The Federal Executive Council (FEC) has approved for Nigeria to subscribe additional 3,230 shares, worth $50.637 million, in the International Bank for Reconstruction and Development (IBRD) of the World Bank.

    The IBRD, at the last meeting of the World Bank Group in 2016, granted approval for Nigeria to secure the additional subscription.

    Minister of Finance, Budget and National Planning, Mrs. cAhmed, while briefing State House Correspondents after the FEC meeting presided over by Vice President Yemi Osinbajo at the Presidential Villa, Abuja, said that Nigeria, prior to now, had a share capital of 16,187 shares at the IBRD.

    She was joined at the briefing by the Minister of Information and Culture, Lai Mohammed and the Minister of State for Transportation, Gbemisola Saraki.

    The Finance Minister explained that the increase in the share capital will assist in strengthening the country’s position and enhance the nation’s voice in the global financial architecture.

    She said: “Prior to now, Nigeria holds 16,187 shares at the IBRB. During the last meeting of the World Bank Group, a capital increase was adopted in October 2016 and an additional allocation of 3,230 shares were allocated to Nigeria, both for general capital increase as well as selected capital increase. The total value of these shares is in the sum of $50,637,747.60.

    “This additional subscription to the Bretton Woods Institution by Nigeria is not just desirable, but necessary. It will strengthen the country’s position and enhance our voice in the global financial architecture.

    “It is important that we also reported to council that Nigeria is now classified by the World Bank as a middle-class income country by reason of its GDP of over $387 billion and a per capital income today or as at the end of 2018 of $1,960 per head.

    “This makes Nigeria qualify for a Bretton status in the World Bank Group that gives a country the leverage and enables us to access some less restricted resources of the bank both at the IBRD as well as the either windows.”

    According to the Finance Minister, the subscription of shares will enhance the future of the status of Nigeria as a middle-income country as well as project the image of the country as strong emerging market.

    “We are required to, at the end of March 2019, have accepted this offer. We have done the acceptance,” Zainab noted.

    The Finance Minister also disclosed that the Federal Government has so far released a total of N650 billion for capital projects in the 2019 budget.

    She said that additional N250 billion would be released by December 2019 to bring the total releases for capital projects to N900 billion.

    The minister explained that the figure had already surpassed the N600 billion President Muhammadu Buhari directed to be released as of October.

    While responding to the excuse given by the Minister of Works and Housing, Mr. Babatunde Fashola, that poor funding was the reason road projects were not executed at a faster pace, Ahmed explained that much as the government was faced with revenue challenges, works, housing, power and transportation had so far received the highest releases.

    She said: “Works is always on the priority list; housing is always funded, same is transportation and power, though we have revenue challenges.

    “It gives me an opportunity to state that the Minister of Works and Housing has a proposed budget of N247 billion for the year 2020 and the greatest component of this budget is the fixing of Nigerian roads. It is true that we are not able to fund the budget 100% but whenever we release funds for capital projects, the Ministry of Power, the Ministry of Works and Housing are always the priority and also the Ministry of Transport.”

    FEC also approved a draft of Executive Bill to be sent to the National Assembly for legal framework for the National Metallurgical Training Institute, Onitsha, Anambra State.

    Council also approved a total of N1.7 billion for the award of contract of a jetty in Borno, Rivers State.

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