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Nigeria Delegate Negotiates $300m Job Creation Scheme With World Bank

A Nigeria delegation to the World Bank Office in Washington DC, USA, Thursday successfully negotiated a $300 million (N47billion) International Development Agency facility, to support the youth employment initiative of the Federal Government.

The fund, which is a concessional credit, is to support the effort of government to “increase access of the poor to youth employment opportunities, social services, and strengthened safety net systems in participating States.”

Specifically, the scheme is expected to strengthened safety net system that would have a common targeting system and unified registry of potential beneficiaries as major elements to facilitate basic services for poor households.

The 20+ man delegation comprising state governments officials, mainly Commissioners of Finance and Justice; and Heads of Planning Commissions, took part in the negotiation, by video conference connection to the Abuja office of the World Bank. The Negotiation lasted for two days, Feb 11 and 12, 2013. Prominent among the states that took part were Cross River, Osun, Niger, Borno, Bauchi, and Ekiti.

The Leader of the Nigerian Delegation, Haruna Mohammed of the Federal Ministry of Finance said during the negotiation as relayed to the Country office Abuja, “negotiating this project at this time is very crucial for the Nigerian team. This project is important, it is a direct support to the transformation agenda of the Federal and State Governments in Nigeria.

“Youth Employment is a key element of Mr. President’s agenda and a major initiative is already in place and yielding good result.

“The partnership with the World Bank will help to scale up the impact especially for poor household in remote areas and this is very much welcomed. We thank the Bank for this facility. We strongly believe that this is a wise use of concessional borrowing taking care of the future of Nigeria”.

Prof. Foluso Okunmadewa the Task Team Leader of the Project in the World Bank, reiterated the strong commitment of the World Bank to support the Government and people of Nigeria to fight poverty in all ramifications.

Prof. Foluso Okunmadewa said that during the negotiation, it was appreciated that since poverty in Nigeria is exemplified by lack of jobs especially for youth from poor and vulnerable families a situation that threatens the social, economic and political stability of the country, the World Bank stands in partnership with government to address the challenge. This assistance is a major support in the partnership.

The Acting Country Director of the World Bank in Nigeria, Jens Kristensen welcomed participant to the office in Abuja and also participated briefly in the negotiation.

The project is to be presented to the Board of the Executive Directors of the World Bank in June, for approval and would be effective in Nigeria immediately thereafter.

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