The World Bank has pledged its support towards assisting Nigeria to increase its Internally Generated Revenue (IGR) to address poverty and service delivery by the government.
World Bank Country Director in Nigeria, Mr Shubham Chaudhuri, made the pledge. He spoke at the opening of a Peer Learning Event organised by the Nigeria Governors Forum (NGF). The event was held on Tuesday, October 29, in Abuja.
Chaudhuri said one of the things that surprised him when he assumed office in Nigeria was the country’s low level of revenue to Gross Domestic Product (GDP), put at eight per cent.
According to him, this is small compared with the number obtainable in South and East Asia.
Chaudhuri said that the fall in the prices of oil revenue as witnessed within the last three years; left Nigeria vulnerable to global oil prices. However, he said that the bank had been trying to help Nigeria raise the level of domestic mobilisation.
Furthermore, the director expressed the commitment of the bank to work with the government to address the problem of poverty.
“Nigeria is central to our mission of eliminating poverty worldwide because it is such a large country. Nigeria still has a challenge in terms of the number of poor in the country.
“President Muhammadu Buhari has talked about his ambition of lifting 100million Nigerians out of poverty in the next 10 years.
“That is what we; in the World Bank are here to support Nigeria both at the federal and state level to do,” he said.
Chaudhuri said that to lift Nigeria out of poverty required investments and job creation from both the private and public sectors participation.
“The role of government at federal and at the state level is to do two things: invest in the Nigerian people, the youth and the children through health, education, vocational training and social protection.
“Two, to invest in infrastructure, help mothers get to primary healthcare.
“So to get out of poverty requires private and public sector participation, and right now Nigeria does not have enough of them,’’ Chaudhuri said.