By Emma Ujah, Abuja Bureau Chief
ABUJA— The Federal Government has tasked ECOWAS Bank for Investment and Development, EBID, to invest more in Nigeria’s infrastructure sector.
Declaring open the 15th session of the EBID in Abuja, yesterday, the Vice President, Prof. Yemi Osinbajo, said an investment by the bank in the Nigerian economy would be a smart one as it would easily yield great returns and positively impact the whole sub-region.
He said: “One of the crucial issues today which will decisively impact the future is how the EBID can make a difference in the lives of our young people.
“Are there opportunities for strategic investments in relevant education, especially in the underserved disciplines such as Science, Education Engineering and Maths?
“Perhaps also the rising scale of foreign investment inflows into business start-ups by our young people should be taken by our local financing institutions like the EBID as a challenge to be just as relevant and invested in the dreams and ambitions of local talents.
“Here in Nigeria, we would like to see you become even more active in supporting our investment and infrastructure ambitions.
“Our government is working hard to attract greater local and foreign investments, and we have put in place the needed reforms required to create an enabling environment for these investments.
‘’With our robust Economic Recovery and Growth Plan, ERGP, and our ongoing business environment reforms, we are confident that investing in Nigeria is and will continue to be a smart business decision.
“We do not approach this selfishly. There is no doubt that a successful Nigerian economy, with our population being– more than half of the size of the ECOWAS community, and now rated the largest economy by GDP in Africa, will positively impact the whole of our subregion. Nigeria’s economic buoyancy is in a real sense the buoyancy of our subregion.”
Osinbajo described the decision of the sub-regional body to establish the EBID as one of the wisest since its inception.
He said: “The bank has since its auspicious founding proved to be one of the wisest and most farsighted decisions taken by ECOWAS since its inception. A sub-regional financial institution whose primary mission is to contribute to the integration and economic development of the 15-member states of our community, by investing in and supporting both private and public sectors. This was clearly what the sub-region required then but perhaps more so now. “And the bank must be commended for its catalytic role in many game changing investments in energy, infrastructure, and even banking. In Energy: the Desert Connection to link Nigeria-Benin-Togo, which was co-financed with the ADB and BOAD.
“In Infrastructure, the bank contributed to the funding of Tinapa, in Cross River State of Nigeria. Tinapa remains one of the most visionary projects designed to make Cross River state an international commercial and tourism hub.
“The bank also supported a electricity project in Conakry in Guinea, a road link between Cote d’Ivoire and Ghana, and guaranteed a 10 billion CFA bond issue for the port of Dakar and the creation of an investment bank in Benin. The bank also demonstrated remarkable resourcefulness at the height of the many conflicts in our sub-region to establish a Conflict Resolution Fund.”
In her remarks, Minister of Finance, Mrs. Kemi Adeosun, noted that the positive growth witnessed among member states has not been inclusive enough to spread shared prosperity.
She, therefore, called all on both state and non-state actors in the ECOWAS to take concrete steps towards more inclusiveness in the benefits of economic growth.
The minister also called for greater focus on industrialization and agriculture which she identified as critical sectors that would guarantee massive economic growth and job creation for the youth.
She challenged EBID to actively participate in the Light- up-Africa power vision, as according to her, “our people yearn for prosperity and we must be determined to deliver it.
Mrs. Adeosun emerged the Chairperson, Board of Governors of the EBID. She succeeds her counterpart from the Republic of Niger, Hassoumi Massoudou.