By Emeka Mamah
LAGOS — The European Union, EU, has given Nigeria a grant of 512 million Euros (about N112 billion) to revive the declining economy and the social sectors in the north as well as improve power supply and deepen democracy nationwide.
The deal was sealed, weekend in Nairobi, Kenya, at the signing ceremony of the 11th European Development Fund, EDF, National Indicative Programmes, NIP, between the Federal Government and the EU, at the sidelines of the just concluded 99th session of the African, Caribbean and Pacific Council, ACP, of Ministers and 39th Session of the African, Caribbean and Pacific Council-European Union, ACP-EU, Council of Ministers meetings.
The Supervising Minister of National Planning, Bashir Yuguda and head of Nigeria’s delegation to the ACP/EU meeting signed on behalf of Nigeria, while EU’s Commissioner for Development Cooperation, Andres Piebalgs, signed for the EU.
A statement issued by the Tehcnical Adviser on Communications to the Minister of National Planning, Ikechukwu Eze, explained that “the support which is spread over seven years, beginning from this year, covers three key development areas, including health and resilience in northern Nigeria, as well as governance and power supply nationwide.”
According to Eze, “the EU envoy stressed that the grant would support programmes in agriculture and rural development in the north as well as electricity and governance in Nigeria.
“Similarly, Yuguda explained that the 11th EDF programmes and projects are directed at addressing some of the challenges that Nigeria is facing at this stage of consolidating its status as a middle income country and help the nation achieve its expressed developmental goals.’’
The statement further quoted Yuguda as saying that “privatisation of key sectors of the economy such as telecommunications and electricity generation and distribution has been given top priority in an attempt to diversifying the economy away from dependence on oil and to stimulate investment, especially in agriculture and food production.”