Following the inability of the Nigerian Government to have fully implemented a $160 million job creation fund by the Growth and Employment in States (GEMS) Project, there are indications that the World Bank may consider the extension of the project.
What GEMS entails
The objective of the Growth and Employment in States (GEMS) Project for Nigeria is to increase growth and employment in participating states.
Under the project being implemented by the Ministry of Industry, Trade and Investment, grants are given to deserving Small and Medium-scale Enterprises (MSMEs) to support growth and employment.
To effect this project, the Federal Ministry of Finance requested a review of the project design to ensure that relevant work within its new policies and initiatives to support growth and employment can be funded by the credit.
The Ministry also requested that the project support the ‘Agricultural Transformation Agenda’, and the ‘YouWin’ business plan competition. International Development Association (IDA) was also requested to review the project design and ensure that the project is not primarily used for government administrative expenditure.
Total project cost includes funding from the World Bank and non-bank sources.
Since its commencement, only N3.7 billion representing about 7.58 percent of the fund has so far been disbursed within the period of five years that the implementation of the project began. Some of the fund, at least $8.5 million, has been expended on securing training for potential beneficiaries, consultancy services and on procuring personnel for the project.
Addressing the development, the World Bank office in Nigeria confirmed that it’s in discussions with the Federal Government concerning the extension of the project’s closing date, adding that any update on agreed decisions could be obtained from the Federal Government.
The international financial institution made known that instead of the 12-month extension being sought by the Government, six months might be granted.