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Nigeria explains reasons for opposing debt relief to World Bank

Days after kicking against it, Nigeria has told the World Bank and the G20 that debt relief will not sustain the financing needs of Nigeria, Angola and South Africa.

Minister of Finance Budget and National Planning Mrs. Zainab Ahmed, made this disclosure while speaking virtually at the International Monetary Fund (IMF)/World Bank meeting,

Speaking on behalf of Angola and South Africa Constituency, Ahmed commended the Bretton Woods Institutions (BWIs) and the G20 Leadership for the Debt Service Suspension Initiative (DSSI) and calls for its extension.

She however lamented “the associated flows from the DSSI may not sustain the massive financing needs of countries”.

She therefore asked the global bodies to pay “more attention to debt management and domestic resource mobilisation”.

Ahmed also said Nigeria welcomes the Progress Report on the 2020 IBRD and International Finance Corporation (IFC) shareholding reviews and continue to support the gradual adjustment of membership shareholding in the World Bank Group (WBG) to address the underrepresentation of members.

“However, given the need for encashments of recently approved IBRD and IFC Subscriptions, as well as the constrained fiscal environment, due to the COVID-19 pandemic, adjustment this time is not advised,” she said.

Given the huge financing gap that exists to support the recovery of African economies, “we share concerns on the capital adequacy of the WBG institutions.

“In this regard, we urge all stakeholders to work together and ensure that Development Association (DA) has enough resources to help the poorest and most resource- constrained members of the WBG.”

To mitigate impact of COVID-19 pandemic on jobs, Ahmed appealed for more investments in broadband network and vocational skills from the international community to close the unemployment gap in the country.

She called for global solidarity in upgrading the digital space in Africa so that the continent can benefit from new jobs.

Ahmed said: “Assuming a strong recovery in 2021 full year (FY21), most of the current jobs may not return, while new jobs will be created”.

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