The World Bank will, in the next three years, spend about $1.4bn on the nation’s power industry, especially on transmission infrastructure.
The World Bank Country Director for Nigeria, Marie-Francoise Marie-Nelly, stated this in an interview with our correspondent on the sidelines of Country Programme Portfolio Review currently going on in Enugu.
She said the increase in the bank’s investment in power from the present level of $200m was part of its strategy to reduce poverty and enhance equity by concentrating on fewer sectors of the economy that had the potency to create jobs and make more impact on the generality of the people.
Apart from power, Marie-Nelly identified a few of the sectors that the bank would be concentrating on as agriculture and housing.
She said, “We are going to concentrate our intervention on fewer sectors. We are going to do much more in power. At the moment, we have a portfolio of about $200m in the power sector and facilities to provide for guarantees. We will help in the next two to three years to provide about $1.4bn investment in transmission.
“Also, as World Bank, we want to play this catalytic role to bring resources from our private sector arm, the International Finance Corporation, and leave it to the private sector because even if we are to use all the resources we have for Nigeria on power, it will not be sufficient. So, that is one area we are going to scale up.
“We are looking at areas that are going to create jobs. We are also looking at the agriculture transformation agenda. We think that if efforts are sustained in increasing production, including the value added, we cannot only have benefit for the Nigerian economy but also for export.
“Here, our intervention may be small in quantity, but we want to have a demonstration effect. We want to put attention in two export processing zones.”
The bank is also set to spend $500m on erosion control in seven states of the federation. The seven states participating in the programme known as Nigeria Erosion and Watershed Management Project are: Anambra, Ebonyi, Abia, Edo, Cross River, Enugu and Akwa Ibom.
During a visit to one of the erosion sites in Agbaje Ngwo in Enugu State, Marie-Nelly regretted that different levels of government in the country failed to intervene before the gully got deep.
A World Bank document on the NEWMAP project obtained by our correspondent said that up to 6,000 square kilometres – almost six per cent of Nigeria’s land mass – was severely degraded at a time when population was increasing at over two per cent per year and numerous sectors depended on the integrity of land resources to deliver on key sector objectives.
It said that gully erosion was accelerating in the South-East while southern Nigeria was affected by massive and expanding gully erosion, an advanced form of land degradation.