By Ola Ajayi
IBADAN—THE World Bank, yesterday, said the former military President, General Ibrahim Babangida, never got its support for the Structural Adjustment
Programme, SAP, he introduced in the 1980s.

It said Nigerians should exclude it from all attendant problems that greeted the introduction of the programme.

World Bank Country Director for Nigeria and Africa Region, Mr. Onno Ruhl, who
made the disclosure at a lecture in honour of late Professor Samson
Olayide who died in 1985 at Ibadan, said it was regrettable that the
country has continued to heap all the blames for the failure of SAP on
the banking institution.

Ruhl noted that if the institution should be blamed at all, the blame should be that it worked for the military for too long.

He said: “Babangida never got our support for the Structural Adjustment
Programme, SAP, that he introduced and yet we were getting all the
blames for it. The only thing he did was that the recommendations he
made was the same we recommended for other countries.”

The Dutch, who spoke on the topic entitled, “Nigeria and World Bank - Friend or
Foe” at the programme organized by the Agricultural Economics Students’
Association in conjunction with the Students’ Union Transition
Government, University of Ibadan, said the country had dysfunctional
governance system especially around service delivery.

Governance,
Nigeria's bane

He argued that though corruption was being touted as the major enemy
inhibiting the country’s growth and development, governance was the
real problem.

Other challenges which he said still militated against the economic growth of the country included weak, non-functional and
deteriorating infrastructure - energy, transport and water resources.
Ruhl commended achievements that Governor Babatunde Fashola of Lagos State
had recorded saying many other governors he went had continued to ask
him to disclose the magic wand that Governor Fashola used to have made
such positive impacts.

He added that the urban transport projects in Lagos State combined institutional and regulatory reform together with
specific investments, adding that it encompassed all elements of
successful public_private partnerships.

Reiterating that the World Bank had never been a foe, he itemized some of the benefits that the
country had gained from the bank.

He said the bank was working for a world free of poverty through promotion of growth to create economic
opportunities; helping poor people to take advantage of these
opportunities, and providing interest-free credits to support Nigeria’s
development process.

Ruhl added that the bank, through the IDA, had put in more than 269,859 HIV positive persons on ART, tested close to
30,000 people and set up 640 counselling and testing centres.

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It is rather late in the day for the World Bank to inform us that they did not endorse the SAP that was responsible for the dispersal of the Nigerian academic and middle class base. Most if not all the ills Mr Ruhl enumerated that are wrong with Nigeria were as a result of the singular decision to over-devalue the currency thereby making exchange unfavourable for the middle classes.
Corruption in the polity stems directly from mediocrity being unleashed on the people because people of little commitment were able to purloin the system. Money, no matter how obtained, became an end in itself hence merit was jettisoned. The World bank and the IMF would have shouted 'mea culpa' earlier absolving themselves as factors in the pain that engulfed Nigeria.
yeah, if you said the world bank did not support the structural adjustment programme. why was the world bank giving loans to a military regime they never supported its programme; and did the world bank know that IBB was undertaking the SAP convincing Nigerians that it is one of the set down rules from the world bank before they could give Nigeria loan. which made Nigerians accept the programme as having meaning. i think the world bank should have made this denials back then, not now. any way, the truth is coming out little little
Balderdash!!! “Babangida never got our support for the Structural Adjustment Programme, SAP, that he introduced and yet we were getting all the blames for it. The only thing he did was that the recommendations he made was the same we recommended for other countries.”

So Babangida set the economic policies for the World Bank which was then used for other countries including Nigeria. I hope the genius charged them for this.

Everybody is blaming Babangida for this and that, I am sure IMF will follow suit soon.

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