By Emma Ujah, Abuja Bureau Chief
The Federal Government has appealed to the Islamic Development Bank (IsDB) to help fund the current administration’s Economic Recovery and Growth Plan (ERGP).
Of particular interest in this regard, is the financing of infrastructure projects for which a wide gap exists, across the country.
The appeal was made by the Permanent Secretary, Federal Ministry of Finance, Dr. Mahmoud Isa-Dutse, who led the Nigerian delegation to the on-going 42nd Annual Meeting of the bank in Jedda, Saudi Arabia.
“We want IsDB to be more visible and deliver signature infrastructure projects in Nigeria. We appreciate their intervention in the water supply, health and education sectors in a number of our States, but we want IsDB to do more.
“Also, given IsDB’s unique role as Islamic Bank with multiplicity of intervention instruments not available to traditional development banks, we expect IDB to be bold and work collaboratively with other MDBs to ensure overall complementarity in all development interventions in Nigeria,” he was quoted as saying in a statement by the Director of Press, Mr. Salisu Na’inna, from Jedda.
Dr. Isa-Dutse acknowledged IsDB past supportive role towards building a strong Nigerian economy and achieving her development aspirations.
He therefore urged the IsDB to increase its financial and technical assistance to Nigeria, to fast track the achievement of her numerous economic, developmental and inclusive growth goals.
The Perm.Sec said that Nigeria had derived many benefits from its membership of the Islamic Development Bank (IsDB), which has financed many development projects in various States of the federation.
He cited the US$65 million Ilesha Water Supply and Sanitation project in Osun State, a US$43 million 300-bed hospital project in Kaduna State and the US$7 million Zaria Water Supply Expansion Project as some of the ongoing projects being financed by soft loans from the Bank.
Dr. Isa-Dutse said that the National Programme for Food Security funded by the Bank, which was designed to reduce rural poverty through enhancing farmers’ access to extension advisory support for greater productivity, was successfully implemented in Anambra, Gombe and Yobe States.
He said that discussions were on-going with the Bank to conclude, sign and implement several other programmes beneficial to Nigeria, including the US$98 million Bilingual Education Project which will provide “almajirai” access to basic education and vocational skills in Osun, Nasarawa, Niger, Kwara and Kano States. Other States in the scheme are Kaduna, Gombe, Borno and Adamawa.
He stated that in addition to approving loan facilities to Nigeria, the IsDB has made several grants and provided technical assistance to Nigeria, including a US$237, 500 to the Central Bank of Nigeria for the development of regulatory framework for non-interest banking in the country.