The World Bank
Group has denied that the Bank disagreed with the Minister of Finance, Kemi Adeosun, over the borrowings by the Nigerian government to stimulate the economy and finance infrastructure projects in the country.
In a mail to the Minister by the Senior Communications Officer Rachid Benmessaoud, the Bank averred that the media misrepresented and quoted out of context, the comments made by its Senior Economist for Nigeria, Gloria Joseph-Raji, at an event in Abuja.
Mr. Benmessaoud said, “On October 11th, during the launch of Africa’s Pulse, the World Bank’s biannual analysis of African economies, World Bank Senior Economist
for Nigeria, Gloria Joseph-Raji, was asked by a reporter to share her views on the Federal Government’s plan to increase external borrowing.
“At no point did she mention that the World Bank and the Federal Government of Nigeria (FGN) disagree on the need to rebalance the country’s debt portfolio. Where expenditures exceed revenue, governments will need to borrow.
“In doing so, the Federal Government is trying to rebalance its portfolio towards more external borrowing with lower interest rates and longer maturities.”
Eyes Of Lagos gathered that, The World Bank Senior Economist was quoted by Mr. Benmessaoud to have commended the Nigerian government’s effort to rebalance its portfolio in order to lower the cost of its borrowing, as outlined in its 2016-2019 medium term debt management strategy released last year.
“The use of IDA concessional financing, among others, is supportive of the FGN’s effort in this regard, with the added focus on poverty alleviation and building shared prosperity in Nigeria.
“The latest issue of Africa’s Pulse points out that growth is Nigeria is projected to pick up from 1.0 per cent in 2017 to 2.5 per cent in 2018 and 2.8 per cent in 2019. While Government debt in 2017 is projected to rise, it remains low in Nigeria,” Mrs. Joseph-Raji was further quoted to have stated.
The World Bank spokesman expressed the Bank’s full commitment to help the Nigerian government restore macroeconomic resilience as well as strengthen the ongoing economic recovery and achieve sustainable inclusive growth.