THE Federal Government has opened talks with the World Bank for a $2.5 billion concessionary loan to boost its power sector.
Hafez Ghanem, World Bank’s vice-president for Africa, who disclosed this in Abuja said Nigeria had received in the previous year, $2.4 billion from the World Bank.
“We’re talking about a new set of programs of about the same amount, it should be around $2.5 billion,” Ghanem said.
Federal government had in February 2018 taken a loan worth $486 million from the World Bank for the purpose of revamping the country’s electricity transmission substations and lines.
Nigeria has the capacity to generate as much as 12,522 megawatts (MW) but so far has only been able to generate about 4,000 megawatts (MW) despite $486 million loan from the World Bank in 2018.
Ghanem also stated that there is immediate need to resolve the power challenges of Nigeria to bring in investors and also the need to bring down the cost of power so as to foster a good competitive industry for development of one of the largest economies of West Africa.
He further explained that the World Bank is supporting digital transformation in Nigeria because of its potential ability to transform other areas of the economy including industry, agriculture and services and mentioned the comparative advantage of Nigerian economy because of the large amount of young citizens of the country.
According to reports, as of March 2019, Nigeria total external debt stood at N7.8 trillion ($25.6 billion) while internal debt was N17 trillion ($55.6 billion).
Despite the drastic increase in foreign debt, Minister of Finance, Zainab Ahmed had earlier claimed that Nigeria does not have a debt problem but a problem of revenue and that Nigeria’s debt is not high.