The Managing Director and Chief Operating Officer of the World Bank, Ms Sri Mulyani Indrawati, has endorsed the economic policies of President Muhammadu Buhari.
Indrawati who briefed State House Correspondents after meeting with the President at the Presidential Villa yesterday said her visit to Nigeria was productive as she met with some five state governors of the North eastern states with whom she discussed issues affecting the Internally Displaced Persons (IDPs).
According to her, the World Bank also backed Buhari’s anti corruption efforts and his resolve to diversify the economy.
“We see that Nigeria and the leadership of President Muhammadu Buhari is now launching the objective of restoring stability and security, the second one is creating jobs and eradicating poverty, the third is fighting corruption. I think these are very commendable goals and we discussed with the government about how we can support the law in order for the government and its leadership to achieve the goals.
“We had the opportunity to meet with five governors of different states in order to discuss more on our programmes to support with the North-East region, especially dealing with Internally Displaced People and how to restore both the livelihood of the people with the development programme.
“So, we discussed both in terms of what is the area of priority, the mode of engagement and the operational details of how this is going to be used in the most effective way. We also discussed more in terms of the need to diversify the economy away from oil.
“We also discussed on how to improve the fiscal side with the minister of finance under her leadership and try to improve on the revenue side, whether to improve collection tax as well as to fight against inefficiency and corruption.
“We had time to discuss with the President and the Vice President about the need of a wider economic agenda. We discussed about the agricultural sector, infrastructure, but also the need to pursue and continue doing a very difficult reform.
“We would like to know how we can help Nigeria to make the very important decisions, whether on micro economic policy and other sectoral policy that will make this economy to move forward to become a strong middle income country to have a much more inclusive growth, to have a vibrant economic activity and creating job and eradicating poverty.
Speaking President Buhari has urged the World Bank to do all within its powers to facilitate the speedy repatriation to Nigeria of stolen funds still being held by Swiss authorities.
According to a statement by his Senior Special Adviser in media and publicity, Garba Shehu, the President made the request while speaking at a meeting with the visiting Managing Director of the World Bank, Ms. Sri Mulyani Indrawati.
The President assured Indrawati that his administration was taking appropriate steps to ensure that public funds are no longer stolen or misappropriated by government officials.
‘‘We need the support of the World Bank for the repatriation of the funds. We are as concerned as the World Bank about accountability. If such repatriated funds have been misapplied in the past, I assure you that the same will not happen with us.
“Three hundred and twenty million dollars is a lot of money and we will not allow it to be misappropriated or diverted,’’ President Buhari told Ms. Indrawati.
One of the conditions given by the Swiss Authorities for the repatriation of the funds is that it should be expended on the implementation of social programmes for the benefit of the Nigerian people in an efficient and accountable way, guaranteed by the monitoring of the World Bank.
Buhari also assured the World Bank Managing Director that his administration will honour all agreements with the Bank that will help to stimulate Nigeria’s economy and reduce the level of poverty in the country.
He said that Nigeria will welcome greater international assistance for the rehabilitation of damaged homes, schools, health facilities and other infrastructure in the North Eastern states affected by the Boko Haram insurgency.