By MARK ITSIBOR, Abuja
Vice President, Prof. Yemi Osinbajo yesterday urged the Economic Community of West African Stares (ECOWAS) bank for Investment and Development (EBID) to become more active in supporting the nation’s massive investment and infrastructure drive.
The Vice President said the Nigerian government is working hard to attract greater number of local and foreign investments. He said the current administration has put in place the needed reforms to create the enabling environment and, other business environment reforms.
“Here in Nigeria, we like to see you become even more active in supporting our investment and infrastructure ambition,” Prof. Osinbajo said yesterday while declaring the 15th Ordinary annual meeting of the ECOWAS Bank for Investment and Development Board of Governors open in Abuja. Continuing, Prof. Osinbajo expressed confidence that the bank’s “investment in Nigeria will continue to be a smart business decision.”
“There is no doubt that the success of the Nigerian economy with our population being more than half the size of the ECOWAS community and now rated the largest economy by GDP in Africa will possibly impact the whole of our sub region,” he said, adding: “Nigeria’s economic buoyancy is in the real sense, the buoyance of our region.”
He urged the 15 member states to commit more effort to agriculture for sustainable food production and job creation in the region.
Stating that “the citizens of our various countries are looking up to us for policies and interventions that will break the bone of poverty, inequality,’ the Vice President noted that “Without question, the challenges of today call for greater creativity and foresight in supporting and making investment in our member countries.”
In her opening remarks, the minister of finance, Mrs. Kemi Adeosun, who also emerged the new Chairman of the Board of Governors of the ECOWAS Investment Bank, said the meeting presents an opportunity to discuss the various issues of development in the sub-region. “It is time for a shift to a new model which ensures that opportunities from economic growth and development can be enjoyed and shared by more people in the sub-region,” Mrs. Adeosun called.
Adeosun called on other Finance Ministers to endeavour to speak about radical economic transformation with a view to taking the region “on the path to a better life for all citizens in our Community.”
She urged them to prioritise industrialisation especially through labour intensive manufacturing to promote job creation, with conscious emphasis on agriculture to improve food security and deriving more value from the Sea, by boosting the Ocean economy.
‘For us to succeed, we need to mobilise appropriate financing. Accordingly, we must support our Bank – EBID, to mobilise domestic and external resources to strengthen developmental partnerships and collaboration,” she said.
Speaking at the event, the bank’s President, Mr. Bashir Ifo expressed optimism that with the approval and signing of Nigeria’s 2017 budget, “policy uncertainties will be curbed, and the country, through its focus on the non-oil sector and other economic diversification initiatives, would in the very near future, experience more positive economic growth.”
Meanwhile, Mr. Ifo disclosed that implementation of the EBID’s 2016-2020 Strategic Plan is being constrained as a result of lack of adequate resources. In 2016, a total of 11 projects amounting to UA 90.4 million or USD 121.5 were appraised, representing a decline of 12.2 per cent in value when compared with the previous year.
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