Sun. Nov 28th, 2021

Nigeria will be getting $400m from the African Development Bank soon as sector loans, Vice President Yemi Osinbajo, has said.

Osinbajo, who represented President Muhammadu Buhari at the inauguration of AfDB’s Nigeria Country Department Building in Abuja on Thursday, said the bank’s President, Dr. Akinwumi Adesina, had assured him that the money would be released to the country as sector loans.

The AfDB had in November 2016 approved $1bn loan to help the country get out of recession. Out of the $1bn, a total of $600m had been released.

Osinbajo said the release of the first tranche of the loan was instrumental in helping Nigeria to wriggle out of recession.

He stated, “Since 1971, the Nigeria Country Office has served as an important convening point for the bank, the Federal Government and state governments and the private sector. Nigeria has been important in the growth of the institution as a major shareholder, a donor and a borrower.

“We have through the years shared the bank’s vision and objectives to underscore the love between the AfDB and Nigeria (as the president of the bank rightly describes it as a marriage). We have loaned our own Dr. Akinwumi Adesina to the bank as he is to our great pride and Nigeria’s first president of the bank.

“In Nigeria, the AfDB has an active portfolio of close to $6bn spread over 73 projects, cutting across public and private sectors of the Nigerian economy. These projects continue to create thousands of direct and indirect jobs in many parts of our economy.”

Osinbajo added, “Most specifically, I thank the President and the members of the Board of the AfDB for their support to Nigeria at a very difficult time during the 2015/2016 economic recession. When we requested for the support of the bank, the response was swift. The bank approved a budget support loan of $1bn in November 2016. The first tranche of $600m has been fully disbursed and utilised.

“In my discussions with the president of the bank, we will be getting the remainder in form of sector loans. So we are looking forward to the remaining $400m. As you know with marriages, very frequently – when demand is made, sometimes it is cut in halves.

“The approval of our loan request by the AfDB sent a much-needed signal to the market at the critical time for Nigeria, and for this, we will remain ever grateful to the AfDB.”

At the event, Nigeria also demanded that it should be considered as the bank’s regional hub for West Africa.

The Minister of Finance, Mrs. Kemi Adeosun, said that the new office complex would strengthen Nigeria’s effort and desire for regional integration in the West African sub-region and demanded that the country should be considered as the regional hub for the AfDB in West Africa.

She stated, “It is in this regard that I would like to put on record Nigeria’s strong desire and demand to host the regional hub of the African Development Bank.

“We think that being the largest shareholder of the bank since inception and the country with one of the largest portfolios of its projects, Abuja, Nigeria is the natural and logical place for the bank’s regional hub.

“Through this investment, the African Development Bank has made Nigeria the first regional member country to host the bank-owned office complex.”

The minister urged Adesina to convey Nigeria’s request to the bank’s senior management and executive board.

In his remarks, the AfDB president stated that the bank would continue to support Nigeria and other African countries in order to accelerate the development of infrastructure and energy on the continent.

“The bank’s portfolio in Nigeria is currently about $6bn and we expect these investments to grow to $8bn by the 2019,” he added.

The AfDB boss disclosed that the bank had invested $500m in the Development Bank of Nigeria and would also be committing $200m in the Transmission Corporation of Nigeria.