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Nigerian govt in last phase of securing $1.5bn World Bank loan –Finance Minister

The Nigerian government has met the precedent conditions for a $1.5 billion budget-support credit from the World Bank and, in so doing, approaches the consummation of the deal, said Minister of Finance and Budget Planning Zainab Ahmed.

The board of the Bretton Woods Institution will hold talks on the loan request at its next meeting where a decision to grant facility will be made, the minister told Bloomberg TV in a Friday interview. In June, the Senate had given its go-ahead for the borrowing proposal.

Government is equally targeting the membership of the G-20 debt-relief initiative and is lobbying commercial lenders for support, Ms Ahmed added.

“We will consider joining as long as it is safe for us to do so,” she said. Nigeria failed earlier on the grounds that a number of the terms were not palatable for current loan obligations with bilateral lenders and other foreign borrowings.

It is probable that Nigeria will borrow from the Eurobond market next year based on interest rates. So far, the Nigerian government has leveraged the strong demand and liquidity in the domestic market for debt-raising.

Read also: Zainab Ahmed will be substantive Minister of Finance — Presidency

Abuja-based Central Bank of Nigeria has reviewed benchmark interest rates twice this year to boost activity in the private sector and minimise potential job losses in the wake of the pandemic outbreak.

Government is worried about the yawning gap in the exchange rate of the naira on the parallel and official markets, Ahmed said.

“We have been taking measures to close the gap. We hope to get to an even level very soon so the impact of the exchange rate will become moderated.”

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