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Nigeria Requests Deadline Extension for $500 Million World Bank Loan Amid Successful COVID-19 Response

Nigeria Requests Deadline Extension for $500 Million World Bank Loan Amid Successful COVID-19 Response

Nigeria has formally approached the World Bank for a deadline extension of a significant $500 million loan initially allocated for pandemic preparedness and response. The request, aimed at extending the revised deadline from February 29, 2024, to June 30, 2024, underscores the nation’s steadfast commitment to fully utilizing the funds to combat the ongoing health crisis.

The appeal for an extension was elucidated in a document from the World Bank, which lauded Nigeria’s remarkable progress in its COVID-19 response, particularly in surpassing the ambitious target of achieving 70% vaccination coverage among the eligible population. Central to this extension plea is the necessity for adequate time to conclude the project’s implementation phase in an orderly manner.

The formal request, detailed in a government letter referenced F11373/S.34/C/4028/VOL.1/126 and dated October 27, 2023, was received by the World Bank on November 1, 2023. It proposes a four-month prolongation to facilitate the comprehensive wrap-up of project activities and ensure their effective completion.

Initiated with the approval of the World Bank Board of Executive Directors on August 6, 2020, and becoming effective on March 15, 2021, the Nigeria COVID-19 Preparedness and Response Project was designed to bolster the country’s capacity to prevent, detect, and respond to the COVID-19 threat at the state level.

Funded through an International Development Association (IDA) credit of approximately $100 million and a Pandemic Emergency Financing (PEF) facility grant of $14.28 million, the project aimed to enhance Nigeria’s strategic and operational readiness against the pandemic.

An additional $400 million was later approved to support the acquisition and deployment of COVID-19 vaccines, underscoring the project’s dual focus on emergency response and sustained management, coordination, and monitoring of the evolving situation.

The project’s progress towards its development objectives has been assessed as Moderately Satisfactory, with significant achievements in key areas, including surpassing the target for COVID-19 vaccination coverage among adults aged 18 years and older, achieving 71.62% as of December 31, 2023.

This accomplishment reflects a broader vaccination effort, reaching 37.5% of the general population and closely aligning with the project’s overall target. Despite existing challenges, the project has recorded notable successes, including the management of confirmed COVID-19 cases and fatalities across the country.

Both procurement and financial management aspects of the project have been operating effectively, with moderate risk levels and satisfactory overall implementation progress.

In light of these achievements and the ongoing need for sustained efforts to combat the pandemic, Nigeria’s request for a deadline extension underscores its commitment to maximizing the impact of the World Bank loan and ensuring the effective utilization of resources in the fight against COVID-19. As the nation continues its battle against the virus, the support of international partners like the World Bank remains crucial in bolstering Nigeria’s resilience and response capabilities in the face of this global health crisis.


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