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World Bank approves $200m for Lagos

The World Bank Board of Executive Directors has approved
$200m credit to Lagos State to support a range of reforms
pertaining to fiscal sustainability, budget planning, budget
execution, and the investment climate in Lagos, Nigeria.
A statement issued by the bank on Wednesday said the

operation would help sustain the state’s recent economic
growth and poverty reduction while continuing to deliver
social services to the city’s expanding population.

The credit from the International Development Association
segment of the World Bank Group supports the Third Lagos
State Development Policy Operation, is the last of a series
of two development policy operations which aim to improve
public finances and the investment climate in a fiscally
sustainable manner.

In the past decade Lagos State achieved significant
economic growth, improved its infrastructure and services,
significantly reduced crime, and brought millions of people
out of poverty, the bank said.

World Bank Task Team Leader for this Project, Jariya
Hoffman, said with enhanced budget transparency and
efficiency, adequate funding can be shifted to programmes
to benefit the state’s booming population, especially the
poorest families.

He said, “The operation’s focus on furthering improvements
in the transparency of the budget system, effectiveness of
public expenditures, and the business climate will help
sustain the pace of economic growth and thus the state’s
positive momentum towards income equality and the
delivery of public services.”

World Bank Country Director for Nigeria, Marie-Francoise
Marie-Nelly, said, “This operation is designed to assist
Lagos State in its quest to continue its recent success in
spite of the challenges brought on by rapid economic and
population growth.

“As an urban agglomeration that has reduced income
inequality during double digit economic growth, Lagos is an
example of inclusive growth in Nigeria. If the Lagos
experience is sustained, there is strong potential for this
type of inclusive growth to spread to other parts of Nigeria.”

The operation will enhance the state government’s fiscal
sustainability by anchoring the budget in a framework that
accounts for key fiscal risks and improves revenue
collection. Support for adopting a new approach to budget
planning and preparation will ensure adequate allocation of
budgetary resources to social services such as education
and health.

Support for reforms of budget execution including increased
operation of the Oracle-based Financial Management
System as well as reform of public procurement, will create
greater transparency and efficiency in the use of budget
resources, the bank said.

It added that in addition to budgetary improvements, the
project’s support for a reduction in the cost of land
transactions as well as the development and introduction of
an electronic web-based system for processing of planning
permits would help to improve the business climate and
attract new investments.

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