The World Bank Group and the Federal Government of Nigeria on April 22, 2017, held a high level consultation meeting in Washington, DC, USA, where they discussed World Bank Group support for the Government’s Power Sector Recovery Program, which was approved by the Federal Executive Council of Nigeria on March 22, 2017.
A statement by the World Bank Group highlighted that the current status of the power sector characterized by poor service and lack of liquidity is a source of macro-economic imbalances and a binding constraint to the revival of growth for the country. The Group explained that the Power Sector Recovery Program focuses on supporting implementation of power sector reform, reducing losses in the distribution companies, enhancing the sector’s financial viability, increasing access to electricity services, and mobilizing private sector investment.
Mr. Babatunde Fashola, SAN, Minister of Power, Works and Housing, was of the view that, “The approval of the Power Sector Recovery Program by the Federal Executive Council demonstrates that the Federal Government is committed to the sustainable development of the power sector. The implementation of the Program is critical to achieving the objectives of the Government’s Economic Growth and Recovery Plan,”
Mrs. Kemi Adeosun, Minister of Finance. Emphasized that, “There is need for well-designed derisking in order to attract private investors to the sector,” adding that, “All the agencies of Government will work in concert to ensure implementation of the Power Sector Recovery Program.”
Senator Enyinnaya Abaribe, Chairman, Senate Committee on Power, Steel and Metallurgy, stated that, “The legislative arm of the Nigerian government is fully committed to the successful implementation of the Power Sector Recovery Program.”
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Honourable Dan Asuquo, Chairman, House of Representatives Committee on Power, also said: “We will make sure our oversight functions focus on the completion of projects and initiatives that support the effectiveness of the Power Sector Recovery Program.”
The World Bank Group congratulated the Federal Government on its commitment to the
Recovery Program, stressing the critical importance of the power sector for Nigeria’s development and for restoring macroeconomic resilience and growth. The meeting discussed the action plan set out in the Program, stressing the need for strong interagency coordination to ensure that it attains its aims.
Riccardo Puliti, World Bank Senior Director for Energy and Extractive Industries remarked that, “Controlling the cost of electricity supply is a critical element of the Recovery Program that will require close attention to prioritizing investments based on least cost power development investment planning principles.”
Bernard Sheahan, Global Director for Infrastructure and Natural Resources at the International Finance Corporation, noted that, “A turnaround of the power sector will require the expertise and financing of the private sector;” adding, “This would require continuous improvement in the investment climate in Nigeria and strong communications among stakeholders of the sector reform plan during its implementation.”
Sarvesh Suri, Director of Operations at the Multilateral Investment Guarantee Agency, also indicted that, “A full range of instruments will be deployed to help the Government mobilize investments directly from the private sector and through private sector guarantees.”
The World Bank Group reaffirmed its strong partnership with the Government of Nigeria in addressing the challenges in power sector, that include bringing its experience in developing financing solutions and attracting private sector capital in Nigeria. The meeting resulted in agreement on the next steps in developing the World Bank Group’s support, recognizing the need for concerted efforts to accelerate its preparation.
“The World Bank Group is committed to supporting the implementation of the Government’s Power Sector Recovery Program to re-establish financial sustainability in the power sector,” said Rachid Benmessaoud, World Bank Country Director for Nigeria.