(AGENDAWATCHDOG) – The World Bank Board of Directors approved today the Power Sector Recovery Operation (PSRO) of $750 million in International Development Association (IDA)* credit to improve the reliability of electricity supply, achieve financial and fiscal sustainability, and enhance accountability in the power sector in Nigeria.
About 47% of Nigerians do not have access to grid electricity and those who do have access, face regular power cuts. In addition, the economic cost of power shortages in Nigeria is estimated at around $28 billion – equivalent to 2% of its Gross Domestic Product (GDP). Getting access to electricity ranks as one of the major constraints for the private sector according to the 2020 Doing Business report. Hence, improving power sector performance, particularly in the non-oil sectors of manufacturing and services, will be central to unlocking economic growth post COVID-19.
“The lack of reliable power has stifled economic activity and private investment and job creation, which is ultimately what is needed to lift 100 million Nigerians out of poverty,” says Shubham Chaudhuri, World Bank Country Director for Nigeria. “The objective of this operation is to help turn around the power sector and set it on a fiscally sustainable path. This is particularly urgent at a time when the government needs all the fiscal resources it can marshal to help protect lives and livelihoods amidst the COVID-19 pandemic.”
The PSRO provides results-based financing to support the implementation of the Government’s Power Sector Recovery Program (PSRP). The PSRP is a comprehensive program to restore the power sector’s financial viability, improve service delivery and reduce its fiscal burden. The PSRO is expected to increase annual electricity supplied to the distribution grid, enhance power sector financial viability while reducing annual tariff shortfalls and protecting the poor from the impact of tariff adjustments. This will enable the turaround of power sector while helping the Federal Government to redirect large fiscal resources from highly regressive tariff shortfall financing towards critical crisis-responsive and pro-poor expenditures. It will also increase public awareness about ongoing power sector reforms and performance.
Specifically, the PSRO will ensure that 4,500 MWh/hour of electricity is supplied to the distribution grid by 2022 by strengthening the regulatory, policy and financing framework. It will also enhance the accountability and financial viability of the sector, helping the sector create a track record of sustainable operation necessary for unlocking much needed private investments in the future.
* The World Bank’s International Development Association (IDA), established in 1960, helps the world’s poorest countries by providing grants and low to zero-interest loans for projects and programs that boost economic growth, reduce poverty, and improve poor people’s lives. IDA is one of the largest sources of assistance for the world’s 76 poorest countries, 39 of which are in Africa. Resources from IDA bring positive change to the 1.6 billion people who live in IDA countries. Since 1960, IDA has supported development work in 113 countries. Annual commitments have averaged about $21 billion over the last three years, with about 61 percent going to Africa.