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FG BORROWS ANOTHER $915M FROM WORLD BANK

By NBF NEWS

The Federal Government is taking a fresh credit facility of $915m from the World Bank.

Out of the amount, $179m will be drawn this year to fund key projects in power, water and transportation as well as human capacity development as contained in the 2010 budget.

Acting President Goodluck Jonathan sent a letter to the House of Representatives on Wednesday seeking approval for the borrowing plan.

Jonathan hinted that the loan was one of the topics discussed at a meeting between him, the Senate President, Senator David Mark and Deputy Speaker of the House of Representatives, Alhaji Usman Nafada, among other government officials on the 2010 budget in Abuja on Tuesday.

Jonathan explained that the country was in 'dire need to fund the huge infrastructure deficit critical to rapid development,' hence the resort to borrowing.

The 2010 budget of N4.6tn has a deficit of over N1.5tn.

Part of the letter read: 'Please, recall our discussion during our interaction on the 2010 Budget of the Federal Government held on April 20, 2010, to formally transmit the 2010 external borrowing plan to you for consideration and approval.'

It added, 'The World Bank portfolio of the facilities totalling $915m, out of which $179m will be drawn in fiscal 2010, is of particular essence as it will be deployed to urban water and transport, human capacity development and power infrastructure projects across the country.'

Only last week, former Minister of Finance, Dr. Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala, warned against the consequences of Nigeria's resort to foreign loans barely five years after it exited the Paris Club of creditor nations.

Meanwhile, the World Bank has said Nigeria's system of innovation is weak and needs to be linked with the private sector.

A nation's innovation system is the set of institutions, procedures and processes that determine how it is able to create, acquire, disseminate and use knowledge and information.

It includes the network of universities, research institutes, think- tanks, businesses and producers of knowledge.

The World Bank report entitled, 'Knowledge, Productivity, and Innovation in Nigeria - Creating a New Economy,' was authored by Ismail Radwan and Guilia Pellegrini.