The World Bank says it is not in disagreement with the Federal Government on the need to borrow to finance infrastructure.
In a letter to the Minister of Finance, Mrs. Kemi Adeosun, in Abuja on Wednesday, the World Bank Country Director for Nigeria, Mr. Rachid Benmessaoud, said the bank had commended the Federal Government for efforts to rebalance the nation’s debt portfolio, according to a statement issued by the Special Adviser to the Minister on Media, Mr. Oluyinka Akintunde.
Benmessaoud was quoted to have said, “On October 11, during the launch of Africa’s Pulse, the World Bank’s biannual analysis of African economies, the 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 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.”
The World Bank Senior Economist was quoted by 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.” .