The Minister of Finance, Mrs Kemi Adeosun, said that African Development Bank (AfDB) disbursed a budget support of 600 million dollars to Nigerian government when the country faced economic recession.
Adeosun said this at the commissioning of the bank complex on Thursday in Abuja.
She said that AfDB-Nigeria Country Office over the years, under past and current leadership, had maintained an appreciable level of cooperation and collaborative engagement with the Federal Ministry of Finance.
She said that the improved relationship had led to an all time high portfolio level of close to six billion dollars spread over 73 projects across other private sector.
She said that the Bank had made Nigeria the first regional member country to host the Bank-owned office complex.
“It is my hope that this edifice we are about to commission today will serve as the pride of Africa and stand as a worthy testament of the AfDB’s resolve to contribute in shaping of African economy in the years to come.
“The AfDB has proved to be quite dependable in the Nigeria’s ongoing economic reforms and also ticks all the right boxes of strengthening our recovery efforts,” Adeosun said.
Adeosun said that the AfDB’s one billion dollars budget support loan, for which the country had drawn only 600 million dollars, came at the right time.
She said the bank provided the lifeline at the time that it was difficult to secure budget support loan from anywhere as the country struggled with the 2015 to 2016 economic recession.
“The signaling effect of that singular act gave the country’s foreign reserves the much needed boost which helped to stabilise the Nigerian Naira.
“Coming at this time, the new office complex will no doubt strengthen Nigeria’s effort and desire for regional integration in the West African Region.
” It is in this regard that I will like to put on record Nigeria’s strong desire and demand to host the regional hub of AfDB.
“We think being the largest shareholder of AfDB since inception and the country with one of the largest portfolios of AfDB projects, Abuja is the natural and logical place for the bank regional hub,” she added.
According to her, about three months ago, the World Bank adjudged Nigeria to be one of the 10 most improved economies in the world in 2017, with regards to ease of doing business and investment climate.
The minister said that Nigeria in particular needed the AfDB and its programme of the High Five’s which encompassed investing more in infrastructure, agriculture, education, health care and increased access to affordable energy and water.
She said that the programmes of High Five’s favoured pro-poor growth and inclusive development, both of which were desperately needed on the continent.
Adeosun said that in the area of addressing inequality, Nigeria had been much more creative about fostering the right kind of inclusive economic growth and human capital development.
She said that with the continuing support of AfDB and indeed other partners, Nigeria would be made a more prosperous and inclusive country.
The President AfDB, Dr Akinwumi Adesina, said that the new complex was the first that the Bank had built outside its headquarters in Abijan since inception in 1964. Adesina said that Nigeria was the largest shareholder of the bank.
He said that the relationship between the bank and Nigeria was stable and dependable.
“AfDB strongly support Nigeria and will always. You can tell by the level of our investment in Nigeria to the tune of six billion dollars.
” Our investment can only increase as we expect the level to reach eight billion dollars in 2019.
” AfDB was there for Nigeria when the country faced economic downturn from the recession.
” I said at the time that Nigeria is too big to fail,”Adesina said.
According to him, the bank is not a fair whether partner; “we were there when it matter most, a partner in time of need is a partner indeed.
“The bank approved and disbursed budget support of six million dollars to Nigeria as it faceed its worst recession.”
“It demonstrates our strong support to help to stablise African largest economy, ” he added.
The News Agency of Nigeria reported that Vice President Yemi Osinbajo commissioned the complex, (NAN)