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Udo Udoma Minister says Nigeria is borrowing solely to fund infrastructure projects

The minister made the statement when he briefed the France trade and policy envoy, Guillaume Chabert.

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Senator Udoma Udo Udoma play

Senator Udoma Udo Udoma

(Union Bank)

The Minister of Budget and National Planning, Mr  Udoma Udo Udoma, says Nigeria’s borrowing solely to fund infrastructure projects,  minister’s Media Adviser, Mr James Akpandem , said in a statement in Abuja on Thursday.

The minister made the statement when he briefed the Assistant Secretary for Multilateral Affairs of Trade and Policy Department of France, Mr Guillaume Chabert.

Udoma said as international development partners explored areas of support to help Nigeria grow a sustainable economy, the Federal Government would consider borrowing to fund targeted infrastructure projects.

He said the effect of investing in infrastructure was enormous and the surest way of setting the country on the part of growth and sustainable development.

The minister said that the Nigerian government was working on a National Economic Recovery and Growth Plan which was tailor-made to move the country’s economy out of recession.

He said that the plan was also designed to set the country on the path of growth.

“Our plan is that we should be able, within that plan period (2017 – 2020) to achieve not less than seven per cent growth.

“For one, to get out of economic recession, we will need to harness resources by plugging revenue leakages.

“We will also be looking at new revenue sources in order to generate the resources required to spend our way out of recession,’’ Udoma said.

He said that while government was exploring other means of generating revenue internally, it would need to borrow, part of which had to be sourced internationally.

The minister said the money had to be borrowed internationally from sources that could lend on concessionary terms, such as International Monetary Fund (IMF) and World Bank.

In addition, Udoma said that government was going into partnership with the private sector in critical areas of infrastructure provision and concession.

“Our intention is to make the private sector to lead the way in social housing; we will kick-start the process and intend to make some provision for it in the 2017 Budget.

“Then, we are also looking at manufacturing.

“One of the ways is by developing export processing zones where we will have all the required infrastructure, including power, rail and security, to encourage manufacturers to relocate to Nigeria,’’ Udoma said.

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The minister, however, expressed appreciation for the support by the French Government, particularly in terms of bilateral and multilateral support, directly and through the European Union.

Chabert said the French government would be willing to support Nigeria surmount its challenges.

He also promised to make some input into the country’s economic plan once the framework was made available.

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