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FG asks World Bank to cancel $41.62 million balance of COVID-19 loan 

The Federal Government of Nigeria has formally requested the World Bank to cancel the undisbursed balance of $41.62 million from a COVID-19 loan approved in 2020. 

This move comes as the Nigeria COVID-19 Prevention and Response Project (COPREP) reached its closing date on June 30, 2024. 

The COVID-19 loan was aimed at preventing, detecting, and responding to the COVID-19 threat at the state level across Nigeria. 

Reason for cancellation 

The cancellation request comes as Nigeria has met its key project targets, notably surpassing the target of 70% vaccination coverage of the eligible population. 

As a result, COVID-19 vaccine acquisition is no longer a priority, and future vaccination efforts will be integrated into routine immunization services. 

The document also noted that the government has shifted its focus to strengthening health systems and building capacity for emergency preparedness and response. 

Consequently, the remaining undisbursed funds of $41.62 million are no longer needed for their original purpose. 

A document from the World Bank read: “The Nigeria COVID-19 Prevention and Response Project (COPREP) is set to close on June 30, 2024, having achieved key project targets. Nigeria has surpassed the country’s target of 70 per cent vaccination coverage of the eligible population. Subsequent COVID-19 vaccination efforts will be incorporated through routine service delivery of immunizations. Consequently, COVID-19 vaccine acquisition is no longer prioritized, and the country will not procure additional doses of COVID-19 vaccines. 

“The country has now refocused its health security agenda to health systems strengthening and capacity building for emergency preparedness and response at the national and sub-national levels. Therefore, proceeds from the project initially considered to support these activities will no longer be used. The purpose of this restructuring is therefore to cancel US$41.62 million equivalent uncommitted and undisbursed project funds, based on the request from the Government.” 

What you should know 

  • The project was approved by the World Bank on August 6, 2020, and became effective on March 15, 2021. 
  • The funds were part of a larger financing structure, which included an International Development Association (IDA) credit and a Pandemic Emergency Financing (PEF) facility grant, totalling $114.28 million. 
  • An additional financing of $400 million was later approved to support the acquisition and deployment of 39.8 million doses of Johnson and Johnson COVID-19 vaccines. 
  • The project has been rated as progressing satisfactorily, with significant achievements in key performance indicators. 
  • The World Bank document added: “Prior to the cancellation, the project had achieved 74 per cent disbursement with $121.4 million in undisbursed funds. Currently, the project has disbursed US$360.01 and has an undisbursed balance of US$41.62 million.” 
  • However, two performance indicators related to emergency operations centres and functional isolation centres are unlikely to be fully met due to decreased demand following the de-escalation of the COVID-19 response in 2022. 

Source: TheTimes.com.ng.

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