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G-8 may review Nigeria's debts next month

Posted by From Iyabo Lawal (Ibadan) and Muhammed Kawu (Bauchi) on 2005/06/16 | Views: 396 |

G-8 may review Nigeria's debts next month


THE forthcoming meeting of the Group of Eight richest nations (G-8) may give a positive response to Nigeria's call for debt reprieve, according to the World Bank President, Mr. Paul Wolfowitz.

THE forthcoming meeting of the Group of Eight richest nations (G-8) may give a positive response to Nigeria's call for debt reprieve, according to the World Bank President, Mr. Paul Wolfowitz.

The British Deputy High Commissioner, Mr. David Wyatt, has also raised hopes of the much-sought reprieve. The G-8 summit is billed for July 6 to 8 at Gleneagles, Scotland.

Wolfowitz, on Monday night, restated his belief that there is merit in Nigeria's case for the reprieve.

"Having spent several hours in London with G-8 countries' finance ministers last week, I discovered that there was strong support for giving Nigeria favourable deal in its request for debt relief," Wolfowitz said.

The World Bank's chief explained that the issue of Nigeria's foreign debts to the private sector was the subject of intense negotiations between her and member states of the Paris Club.

He pointed out that though Nigeria could be considered poor, she was not classified as one of the Highly Indebted Poor Countries (HIPC) because of its huge resources.

Western creditor nations last week wrote off the foreign debts of 18 countries, mostly African, but left Nigeria out.

"Nigeria is a poor country but with enormous revenue the potentials poor countries did not have." Wolfowitz said.

According to him, the cancellation of the debts of the 18 countries would have positive effects on other developing nations like Nigeria whose debts were not cancelled.

Wyatt, who gave assurance of the reprieve during a courtesy call on the Oyo State Governor, Senator Rashidi Ladoja, in Ibadan yesterday, said that the British Government was in total support of debt forgiveness for Nigeria by her creditors.

"The G-8 meeting in Scotland next month will certainly discuss debt relief for Africa especially Nigeria. This is because President Olusegun Obasanjo and the Minister of Finance, Mrs. Okonjo-Iweala have done a lot to seek the confidence of the G-8" he said.

According to the British envoy, the G-8 meeting will yield good results for Africa and particularly Nigeria in the area of debt forgiveness.

In his remarks, Governor Ladoja solicited more assistance for Nigeria from the European countries especially Britain in the area of economic development.

The Governor noted that the influx of economic asylum seekers from Africa into developed countries would be reduced if such nations increased their aid programmes to Africa.

"The advanced nations must begin to see the development of Africa as important to the sustainability of their own development. The development of poor countries is to the advantage of the rich nations," Ladoja said.

He called on the British government to assist the rural population in Oyo State, especially in developing subsistence farming to commercial level.

Wolfowitz also stressed the need for developing countries to have "a strong voice" on the operations of the bank.

He explained that this could be accomplished by appointing staff of such countries as board members or into senior managerial positions.

Wolfowitz commended the administration of President Olusegun Obasanjo for the progress so far made in the war against corruption.

He also gave the administration "a pat on the back" for making transparency and accountability the cornerstone of its efforts to reposition the country.

"I think the Nigerian government had made some important progress in this regard and there is a lot more work to be done," he said.

Wolfowitz, who had paid a working visit to Bauchi State earlier in the day, described it as "wonderful".

He noted that the visit provided him the opportunity to inspect some development projects being sponsored by the bank.

The World Bank chief said that he was also able to inspect community based material health clinics where he interacted and conferred with some of the patients.

Meanwhile, the World Bank has offered a N42 billion ($300 million) grant to rural communities in 12 states of the federation participating in the assisted Fadama project (irrigation farming).

The fund will be disbursed under Fadama III of the initiative which, is now in Fadama II.

Already, the World Bank is considering the proposals, which the participating communities submitted to it, before releasing the funds.

The financial institution under the project organises rural communities under its Local Development Plan (LDP) to promote the farming scheme and curb poverty among the peasants.

Members of such LDP are usually farmers' group, pastoralists and hunters who constitute themselves into Fadama Community Association to access the fund sand other resources being provide by the bank.

A senior economist with the World Bank, Dr. Sidt Jammeh, revealed the global body's plan to disburse the fresh fund in Bauchi, one of the participating states in Fadama II. He said the challenge before the affected states was to ensure effective co-ordination and successful implementation of the fadama funded activities in their communities.

Jammeh spoke with journalists before the visit of the World Bank President to Bauchi.

Jammeh expressed joy over the level of execution of World Bank Projects in Bauchi State, which he said could reduce poverty if sustained.

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Fay(Katy, Texas, US)says...

Actually translates to bravehearted.