The Federal Government on Wednesday said it has released over N460 from the 2018 national budget, which Udo Udoma, minister for Budget and National Planning, said was spent on capital projects.
This is coming as Nigerian President Muhammadu Buhari on Tuesday asked lawmakers to approve the issuance of a $2.79 billion Eurobond, to help finance the budget deficit and to fund infrastructure projects.
Udoma who spoke on the sidelines of the ongoing International Monetary Fund (IMF)/World Bank Group annual meetings in Bali, Indonesia, said “we have to keep on growing, we are focused on working and are not distracted by electioneering. The president has instructed us to remain focused. We are happy IMF has spoken well about Nigeria”.
“We expect that by the end of this year, we will be growing by 2.1 percent, things are going well in Nigeria, not as well as we want to be, we are working hard to improve things. We are in stronger position than 2015. Our foreign reserves are $44 billion and we have a trading surplus whilest our imports are not increasing, we have been able to manage those imports. All the indices are positive”,Udoma said.
Also speaking with journalist in Bali, Zainab Ahmed, minister of finance disclosed that there were discussions around the possibility of Nigeria increasing its shareholding just like Afrexim that has a very large portfolio of about 40 percent in Nigeria.
She also disclosed that were discussions around setting up some industrial parks in partnership with the federal ministry of industry, trade and investment in three centres; Lekki, Kano and Kaduna.
On the issue about raising the federal government stake at the bank, she said, “When we have a consensus, we will join. That discussion is being driven by the federal ministry of Industry, Trade and Investment. That we will need to consider increasing our shareholding in the bank because there is a lot of value that we are getting from Afreximbank.”
“Other things we discussed included setting up a medical park in FCT which is a discussion that has been going on for quite a long time, there is also some quality assurance centres in Ogun and some other parts of the country”.
Benedict Oromah, president of Afreximbank, in terms of business in Nigeria, the bank has exposure of more than $3.2 billion.
“We are supporting virtually all the banks in terms of lines of credit to be able to do import and export and support SMEs. We also support private businesses in manufacturing. Beyond that, we are pursuing other impactful initiatives. We are finalizing arrangements to begin developing a centre of excellence for healthcare. We want Nigeria to have facilities to take care of complex diseases, oncology, haematology, cardiovascular and other complex diseases”, Oromah said.