By Okeoghene Akubuike
Abuja, – The World Bank has approved 750 million dollars for the Nigeria State Action on Business Enabling Reforms (SABER) Programme-for-Results.
This is contained in a statement obtained by the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) from the World Bank website on Friday in Abuja.
The statement said the 750 million dollars International Development Association (IDA) credit, will help Nigeria accelerate the implementation of critical actions that will improve the business-enabling environment in states.
“Nigeria has made progress in advancing reforms to eliminate constraints in the business environment, especially through actions driven by the Presidential Enabling Business Environment Council (PEBEC).
“However, Nigeria’s ability to attract domestic and foreign investment remains low compared to its peers.
“Nigeria’s 36 states and the Federal Capital Territory (FCT) are capable to catalyse private investment but vary significantly in their efforts and ability to do so,”it said.
It said given the importance of state-level reforms, the government developed a new programme called SABER, to accelerate the implementation of critical actions that improve the business-enabling environment in Nigeria’s states.
The statement said the government’s SABER programme builds on the successes of PEBEC.
“It aims to strengthen the existing PEBEC-National Economic Council subnational interventions by adding incentives.
“These incentives are results-based financing to the states, and the delivery of wholesale technical assistance available to all states, to support gaps in reform implementation.”
It said the Programme-for-Results supports the most critical state-level business enabling reforms of the government’s SABER programme.
The statement said, the programme is open to all states in Nigeria and FCT, given their ability to take concrete steps towards addressing major business-enabling environment challenges around land administration.
“Also around regulatory framework for private investment in fibre optic infrastructure, public-private partnerships (PPP) and investment promotion frameworks and services, and business enabling regulatory environment.”
It said the programme was in line with Nigeria’s National Development Plan (NDP) which sets an ambitious strategy to pursue sustained private sector-led economic growth.
“The NDP is aimed at generating 21 million full-time jobs and lifting 35 million people out of poverty by 2025. ”
The statement said SABER would support states to improve the efficiency of land administration and the regulatory framework for private investment in fibre optic infrastructure.
“SABER will also support states to improve the services provided by investment promotion agencies and PPP units, and the efficiency and transparency of government-to-business services.”
The statement quoted Shubham Chaudhuri, World Bank Country Director for Nigeria, as saying:
“Private sector investments remain the major vehicle to create more jobs, increase revenues to the states and improve social and economic outcomes for citizens.”
The statement quoted Bertine Kamphuis, Task Team Leader for SABER, as saying “overall, the SABER program looks to consolidate and deepen business enabling environment reforms across more states.
“The use of the Program-for-Results model, which ensures disbursement of funds after achieving results, helps the government in strengthening its programme by incentivising institutional performance at the state level, through results-based financing.
Kamphuis said states would be responsible for achieving the programme results and thus will be leading the implementation of the programme. (NAN)