The African Development Bank (AfDB) and other co-financing partners’ portfolio in Nigeria have increased by 2.031 billion dollars between 2019 and 2021.
The Director-General, Nigeria Country Department, Mr Lamin Barrow, disclosed this on Thursday in Abuja at the opening of the 2022 Country Portfolio Performance Review (CPPR) workshop.
According to him, with the exit of 15 operations and entry of six operations since the 2019 CPPR, the bank’s portfolio in Nigeria increased by 198.6 million dollars.
“In 2020, a 288.5 million dollar General Budget Support operation was approved under the COVID-19 Crisis Response Facility.
“Meanwhile 544 million dollars in loan financing was approved for five operations in 2021.
“The bank has leveraged its resources by mobilising co-financing from other development partners to the tune of nearly one billion dollars.”
He also said that the bank’s portfolio in Nigeria comprised 63 operations for a total commitment value of five billion dollars and almost evenly distributed between public and private sector operation in many sectors.
Barrow expressed concern that since the 2019 CPPR workshop, the operating environment had witnessed significant changes, in particular, the COVID-19 pandemic which accused major disruptions to activities.
He, however, said that in spite of the disruptions, there were some modest gains recorded.
“For instance, the pace of project implementation has picked up in 2021 as evidenced in the cumulative disbursement rate which increased from 57 per cent in 2019 to 66 per cent in 2021.
“Similarly, the portfolio performance rating has remained satisfactory at around three on a scale of one to four over the same period.
“Fiduciary compliance is also improving with progress observed in the submission rate of audited financial statements by the executing/implementing agencies,” he said.
The director-general said that in spite of the progress made in 2021, more needs to be done to move faster in ensuring that new projects reached implementation stage at a faster pace.
“The 2022 CPPR, therefore, presents a good opportunity to take stock of progress and execute timely actions to avoid further slippages and clean up the portfolio.
“This has become more urgent in the context of the Federal Government’s efforts to achieve rapid economic recovery from the pandemic as articulated in the medium-term National Development Plan 2021-2025.”
Barrow said that the workshop was an important milestone for the bank’s programming cycle as it provides an opportunity to jointly assess the performance and quality of the portfolio of projects in Nigeria.
It would also inform the on-going mid-term review of the bank’s Country Strategy Paper 2020-2024.
Aisha Omar, Director, International Economic Relations Department, Ministry of Finance, Budget and National Planning, said that the workshop was critical to the development strategy of the Nigerian government.
This, she said, was because it enables the government to review Nigeria’s portfolio with AfDB and determine the efficiency of the implementation of projects and how they could be impacted on the development of Nigeria.
“Particularly, it allows us to ascertain how value for money was achieved in implementing projects and to make amends where there are deficiencies and challenges in order to achieve the primary objectives of these projects.”
She commended AfDB for its partnership not only in facilitating the workshop but also in the support to achieve Nigeria’s development agenda towards a common goal.
CPPR reveals the efficiencies of the implementation performance and effectiveness of our projects and programmes.
She said that though the pandemic prevented several activities globally, including Nigeria and impacted the pace of implementation negatively due to the lockdown, the nation had now gone past that and could no longer hinge on excuses.
To this end, she said that the forum was expected to provide dynamic interactive action plans to address critical issues that had impacted negatively on Nigeria’s portfolio and facilitate means to set a strategic direction for efficient and timely implementation projects and programmes.
According to Omar, the ministry has a keen interest in the performance of projects and programmes, enhancing portfolio quality and driving valuable lessons to harness its resources appropriately.
“AfDB has demonstrated its unwavering support in our times of difficulty by mobilising resources for investment in Nigeria.
”Nigeria is currently stepping up efforts to ensure the implementation of donor assistance for the effectiveness of our portfolio.
”Our approach is to adopt a rigorous tracking and monitoring of all donor interventions across the country,” Ok mar said.
She added that the ministry would continue to deepen its partnership with AfDB towards effective portfolio management strategies for effective implementation of Nigeria funded projects by the bank for more significant results and benefits for the Nigerian people.