Nigeria’s borrowing from the World Bank has risen by 121.46 per cent under the present government led by President Muhammadu Buhari.
According to The PUNCH, the total debt owed to the World Bank Group by Nigeria rose by $7.64bn (N3.52tn, using the exchange rate of the Central Bank of Nigeria, which was N460.53 per dollar as of April 23, 2023) in seven years.
Specifically, the country’s indebtedness to the Washington DC, United States-based lender rose from $6.29bn (N2.9tn) as of December 2015 to $13.93bn (N6.42tn) as of December 2022, according to data from the external debt stock reports by the Debt Management Office.
The International Development Association and the International Bank for Reconstruction and Development, which make up the World Bank, have over the years advanced loans to Nigeria.
The IBRD lends to governments of middle-income and creditworthy low-income countries, while the IDA provides concessionary loans – called credits – and grants to governments of the poorest countries.
The data showed that in 2016, Nigeria had a debt of $6.29bn from IDA and $3.57m from IBRD, but by 2022, the borrowing through IDA was $13.45bn while the one from IBRD was $487.03m.
A further breakdown over the years showed that Nigeria’s total borrowing from World Bank was $6.67bn in 2016, $8.03bn in 2017, $8.67bn in 2018, $10.1bn in 2019, $11.53bn, and $12.38bn in 2021.
The loans approved by the World Bank to Nigeria are usually tied to different projects across different parts of the country.
For instance, in 2020, the Nigeria Rural Access and Agricultural Marketing Project, which seeks to upgrade rural roads, and improve connectivity and access to local markets and agribusiness services in 13 states, was approved to be co-financed through an IDA credit of $280m, $230m from the French Development Agency, and $65m from the Federal Government of Nigeria.
The Nigeria Digital Identification for Development Project, which will support the National Identity Management Commission to increase the number of persons who have a national identification number to about 150 million in the next three years, was also approved to be co-financed through an IDA credit of $115m, $100m from the French Development Agency, and $215m from the European Investment Bank.
In 2021, the World Bank approved a $700m credit from the IDA for the Nigeria Agro-Climatic Resilience in Semi-Arid Landscapes Project.
The bank also approved $500m to help boost access to electricity in Nigeria and improve the performance of the electricity distribution companies in the country.
The rising debt pushed Nigeria up the World Bank’s top 10 International Development Association borrowers’ list.
The World Bank Fiscal Year 2021 audited financial statements, known as the IDA financial statement, showed that Nigeria was rated fifth on the list with $11.7bn IDA debt stock as of June 30, 2021.