MFA/Oslo/Ken Opprann

The Minister of State, Ministry of Budget and National Planning, Zainab Ahmed, has commended the European Investment Bank’s plan to invest between 800 million and one billion Euros in the Nigerian economy.

Ahmed, who stated this in Abuja at the EIB interactive meeting with its clients and other stakeholders in Abuja, said the plan would complement the Federal Government Economic Recovery and Growth Plan.

She said: “Over the past 20 years, EIB had facilitated numerous public private sector driven projects totaling about 1.60 billion Euros in Nigeria in the areas of agriculture, power, transportation, Small and Medium Scale Enterprises.

“All of these have significant impacts on the employment and have significantly contributed to the turnaround of the industrialisation efforts of the government.

“The bank’s recent commitment to make available between 800 million and one billion Euros for public sector investment, demonstrates the growing EU-Nigeria ties and EU confidence in the Nigerian economy.”

The minister lauded the bank’s activities in Nigeria, stressing that it had impacted positively on the nation’s economy.

Ahmed said: “As the EIB celebrates its 60 years of establishment and service to humanity, we wish to congratulate you and to see that the work you do is actually directly complimenting the Nigeria Economic Recovery and Growth Plan.

“The ERGP is a short medium term programme that seeks to assist the Nigerian economy to grow in manner that is both sustainable and inclusive.

“The ERGP is designed to leverage the power of the private sector and you are directly contributing to that.

“We have the plan in our budget to graciously provide fund to crowd-in more fund; we appreciate the instrumentality of the various packages that you have.”

The minister urged the bank to make its presence strong in the country by having a Nigerian branch.

She said: “With all that you have done in our country with the largest investment in Africa being in Nigeria, we want you to have your presence in the country, and open an EIB Nigerian office.

“We urge the EIB to continue with the good work that it has been doing. I wish to assure its management of conducive business environment and market in the Nigerian economy to guarantee decent returns on investments.

“In this regard, I urge the bank to key into the bright outlook of our economy as we look forward to commissioning its business office in our country very soon.”

EU Ambassador to Nigeria and ECOWAS Ketil Karsen described the bank’s investment in Nigeria as a valuable addition to the existing cooperation between EU and Nigeria.

He said that the investment would help to achieve the target of addressing the challenge of illegal migration through investment

Head of EIB Regional Representative for West Africa Isabelle Grunderbeeeck said the bank was committed to increasing its investment portfolio in Nigeria.

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