FG, World Bank PSRP Loan Negotiation Ongoing, Says Fashola

Babatunde Raji Fashola

The federal government has not concluded its negotiation of a $2.5 billion loan expected from the World Bank in support of the implementation of its Power Sector Recovery Programme (PSRP), the Minister of Power, Works and Housing, Mr. Babatunde Fashola, has disclosed.

To this end, Fashola, explained that the PSRP which was articulated as a means to address some post-privatisation challenges in Nigeria’s power sector, as well as improve power supply, has not been abandoned by either parties.

The minister who disclosed this in a statement by his Senior Adviser on Communications, Mr. Hakeem Belo, noted that the PSRP sought to articulate all of the problems that were being reported about the power privatisation.

According to him, all the problems arising from the 2013 exercise were documented in the PSRP document.
He listed these to include challenges with generation; transmission; energy theft and tariff issues amongst others.
“All the problems that were in the sector we sat down and documented them as a programme. Everything that we learnt was a problem, we took it down as the power sector recovery programme.

“And then we proposed solutions to each problem and we assigned a department, ministry, agency of officer who was responsible for solving a particular problem,” Fashola said.

He further stated: “As we were doing it, the World Bank wrote to us and said we had to undertake reforms in this sector to make it work and when we presented what we were undertaking to them, they said: ‘what we were going to recommend to you was not as extensive as what you have agreed voluntarily to undertake yourself. If you are going to do this then we will put money behind it’.”

Fashola, however said the PSRP was not all about the World Bank loan, adding: “The World Bank loan is just a component of the PSRP. We couldn’t reach a conclusive negotiation because some departments felt that additional provisions had to be made. That was a sticky point.

“However, of the basket of issues in the PSRP, people seem to have identified the World Bank loan as the be-all-and-end-all of the PSRP. Certainly not and it is not off the table.”

He said in addition to the loan from the World Bank, there were loans for the Transmission Company of Nigeria (TCN) for expansion from the same multilateral institution as well as from the African Development Bank (AfDB) for rural electrification.

“World Bank alone doesn’t have all the money that we need. So, addressing the liquidity problem is coming through; it does not mean that PSRP is not working. Indeed, it has delivered and that is indeed why I could report today that we had an 18 per cent growth contribution to the GDP. It is because the PSRP is working.

“The PSRP has not gone idle. We are ticking the boxes. There was no chairman for the NERC, now there is a chairman, problem solved; there was MDAs debts owed, I think over N70 billion, we verified N27 billion, that was part of the PSRP and it was paid; there was a Transmission Expansion Programme, transmission has gained more than distribution, that is progress,” he added.