Special Adviser to the President on Social Investments, Mrs. Maryam Uwais, said, weekend, that the World Bank has approved $500 million loan for the Federal Government’s social investment programme.
Uwais, who disclosed this during an interactive session with journalists in Lagos, also expressed frustration at efforts by politicians to dictate what should happen with the programme but vowed that her office would resist such efforts. She said the World Bank was propelled to assist with the loan because of the transparency and accountability that had trailed the programme since its take off.
According to her, the loan, which will be repaid within the the three-year life cycle of the programme, comes with only 1.7 per cent interest rate. She said: “We are passionate about this programme.
The World Bank has been assisting us with training and other supports. In fact, the bank has approved a $500 million loan for us to enable us cover a large number of people below the poverty line which this programme is set out to achieve. “We have not started drawing from the fund because the matter is still before the National Assembly, since it is a foreign loan.
The World Bank is quite happy that this programme is different from similar programmes in the past because of the transparency in its implementation.” Mrs. Uwais, who noted that only N80 billion of the N500 billion earmarked for the programme had been released, put the number of people below the poverty line in the country at 53 million. She said the greatest achievement of the programme thus far was its ability to come up with a National Social Register, which successive governments could rely on to address poverty in the country.