The World Bank president, Jim Yong Kim, has disclosed that President Muhammadu Buhari asked the bank to focus its attention in Nigeria’s Northern region. Kim disclosed that turbulence in that part of the country has made it difficult for the bank to carry out its duties. He expressed hope that as oil prices rise, the economy of the North would be revitalized. The World Bank chief advised the federal government to think ahead and invest in people and things that would make Nigeria a thriving, rapidly growing economy in the future In line with a request allegedly made by President Muhammadu Buhari, the World Bank has disclosed that it is concentrating its efforts on Northern Nigeria, Punch reports. The disclosure was made by Jim Yong Kim, President of the World Bank Group.
Kim stated that it has been quite difficult for the bank to carry out its duties as there is so much turbulence in the North. He further stated that Nigeria’s economy has been dealt a heavy blow by falling oil prices in the global market. However, Kim expressed optimism that things were getting better.
He stated: “You know, in my very first meeting with President Buhari he said specifically that he would like us to shift our focus to the northern region of Nigeria and we’ve done that. “Now, it has been very difficult. The work there has been very difficult. “I think Nigeria, of course, has suffered from the dropping oil prices. I think things are just now getting better. “But the conversation we need to have with Nigeria, I think, is in many ways related to the theme that I brought to the table just this past week, which is investment in human capital. “The percentage of the Gross Domestic Product that Nigeria spends on healthcare is less than one percent. “Despite that, there is so much turbulence in the northern part of the country, and there is the hit that was taken from the drop in the oil prices. “Nigeria has to think ahead and invest in its people. Investing in the things that will allow Nigeria to be a thriving, rapidly growing economy in the future is what the country has to focus on right now.” He expressed hope that as oil prices rise again, the economy in the northern region would be revitalized, stating: “Focusing on the northern part of Nigeria, we hope that as commodity prices stabilise and oil prices come back up, the economy will grow a bit more. “But very, very much important is the need to focus on what the drivers of growth in the future will be.” Meanwhile, the former minister for aviation, Femi Fani-Kayode, has reacted to the development, accusing President Muhammadu Buhari of considering Nigerians from the South and Middle-Belt as slaves.
In a related development, NAIJ.com previously reported that Nigeria was set to benefit from a World Bank scheme that would allow the country get about N417 billion to rebuild areas in the northeast ravaged by the activities of Boko Haram. A statement released by the special adviser to President Muhammadu Buhari on media and publicity, Femi Adesina, said the issue was discussed in Washington DC between President Buhari and representatives of the World Bank, the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation and the World Health Organisation.