Govs Seek Access To $3.2bn World Bank Fund To Boost Ailing Economy | Independent Newspapers Limited
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Govs Seek Access To $3.2bn World Bank Fund To Boost Ailing Economy

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Posted: May 19, 2016 at 6:17 pm   /   by   /   comments (0)
Governors of the 36 states of the federation met at the Presidential Villa, Abuja, on Wednesday to deliberate on measures to undertake to access the $3.2 billion World Bank Fund to boost their economy.
Abdulaziz Yari, Zamfara State Governor and Chairman of Nigerian Governors’ Forum, disclosed this after the meeting of the Forum with World Bank officials held until the early hours of Thursday.
The World Bank portfolio for the fund, which is largely for state governments for this year, is $4.25 billion dollars out of which $3.25 billion dollars is yet to be accessed because the states have not been able to meet the conditions, especially the counterpart funding.
Governor Yari said, “We discussed sincerely on the issue of counterpart funding; it is more difficult for us to fulfill our own part because we are struggling to see how we can pay salaries.
“That is the most difficult aspect of it and they (World Bank officials) promised that they will look into it and immediately that is done, the states will move fast to ensure we access it.”
Independent gathered that Mallam Nasir El-Rufai, Kaduna State governor, sold the idea of inviting the World Bank officials to meet with his colleagues, so that they could be enlightened on how to access the fund that may assist them in infrastructure development in their states.
Most governors were said to have no idea that such funds even abound.
El-Rufai told newsmen that the World Bank portfolio for the states for 2016 is $4.25 billion dollars, out of which, he said $3.25 billion dollars is still undisbursed as states were unable to meet the conditions for drawing it.
“You know $3.25 billion dollars can do a lot to improve the lives and livelihood of our citizens in the states and the World Bank has expressed its flexibility to look into the challenges we are facing as well as the procedure or bottleneck to ease the access to these monies.
“(This is) because the World Bank wants us to withdraw these monies as quickly as possible so that our citizens will get the benefits from health to education and the rural access, agriculture and the revival of livestock and water supply.
“These are the areas that most of these funds are dedicated and we all
need the money because we are all broke, so we are going to work very hard to try to get these monies in trust,” he said.
The governors also declared their support for full deregulation of the downstream sector of the petroleum industry, which led to the increase in the price of petrol from N86.50 to N146 per litre.
The Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC) has already proceeded on strike and protest actions across the country over the increase in petroleum pump price.
Ibikunle Amosun, Ogun State governor, told newsmen that the deregulation should be considered as “sacrifices that must be paid by all,” insisting that President Muhammadu Buhari and the governors meant well for the country.
Amosun said, “If truly we are caring for the masses, we must believe that subsidy only serve the rich, those that are getting us the fuel, not the masses.