Abujaâ€”Vice-President, Namadi Sambo has challenged the Debt Management Office, DMO, to raise funds for the execution of capital projects to enhance the development of infrastructure in the country.
Sambo gave the challenge when the management of the DMO, led by its Director-General, Dr Abraham Nwankwo, visited him in his office, weekend.
He said that when generated, such funds could be used for power generation, transportation and road construction to facilitate the speedy development of infrastructure.
The Vice-President expressed optimism that the country could meet its target of Vision 20:2020 as long as funds were raised through bonds to deliverÂ infrastructure to Nigerians.
He stressed the need for the diversification of the countryâ€™s power sector to include nuclear energy.
Sambo noted that the Islamic Development Bank had provided funds for the construction of the Mambilla Dam in Taraba, which is expected to generate hydro-electricity.
He also advised the DMO to facilitate easy access to finance by Nigerian entrepreneurs and monitor how loans were utilised â€œas this is one of the ways to drive the economyâ€.
The Vice-President said the Federal Government should not be left alone to finance capital projects.
â€œThe Debt Management Office has a role to play in this regard to assist local businesses to thrive, as many industries in the country are dead because they could not meet the high interest rates charged by commercial banks,â€ he said.
Sambo, who is the Chairman of the Supervisory Board of the DMO, further charged the agency to get the Ministry of Finance and the Central Bank of Nigeria to give concessionary loans to Nigerians.
Earlier, the DMO Director-General had said that the management team came to brief the Vice-President on the organisationâ€™s mandate, achievements and challenges.
Nwankwo highlighted the major activities of DMO to include reduction in the countryâ€™s external debt from more than $35 billion to $3.55 billion after its exit from the Paris and London Clubs.
Others included the unveiling of the Second Strategic Plan for 2008-2012, as well as, the National Debt Management framework for the same period, he said.
Nwankwo listed the major challenges facing the DMO to include the review of its regulatory Act in order to meet the unfolding challenges in its operations.
Others, he said, were inadequate funding to build its headquarters, as well as acquire and install an appropriate IT platform for auctioning and trading on the FGN Bond Market.