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Nigeria is AfDB’s Largest Shareholder — Okonjo-Iweala

Nigeria is AfDB’s Largest Shareholder — Okonjo-Iweala
Dr Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala

The Minister of Finance, Dr Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala, says Nigeria is the largest shareholder in the African Development Bank (AfDB) with the highest voting power of 9.2 per cent.

Okonjo-Iweala said this at the 50th Anniversary Dinner of the bank organised by its country office in Abuja on Wednesday night.

The minister also said that the Federal Government had a 1.6 billion dollars loans portfolio from the AfDB for 28 projects that cut across private and public sector activities in the country.

She explained that Nigeria had been a principal beneficiary of AfDB’s assistance, having received nearly five billion dollars in net investments since the bank commenced its operation in 1972.

Okonjo-Iweala said that the country had been committed to the development course of the bank since 1986 when the country established a Nigeria Trust Fund (NTF) within the institution.

“We set up this money as a means of helping countries that were less fortunate and ourselves at the height of the oil boom of the 1970s,“ she said.

The minister said that the trust fund started with about 80 million dollars, adding that the fund grew to more than 600 million dollars in few years.

Okonjo-Iweala said that the fund had serviced and benefited so many countries with 88 key operations among 34 regional member countries.

She said the country also accompanied the fund with a trust fund called the Nigerian Technical Cooperation Fund (NTCF) of 25 million dollars of grant resources.

“This fund is to assist in the preparation and implementation of development projects and programmes of countries that are less fortunate than ourselves and poorer countries within the continent, “ she said.

Okonjo-Iweala said the country maintained a strong macro-economic stance which had given her a platform within which to leverage the needed structural and sectoral reforms in key sectors.

She said that the diversification of the economy really showed off in the rebasing exercise which showed that the service sector was the leading sector of at 51 per cent.

According to her, the economy is well diversified in agriculture, manufacturing and even sectors that Nigeria did not feature earlier like creative industry at 1.2 per cent and telecommunication at seven per cent.

The coordinating minister for the economy disclosed that the Federal Government was building its own Nigerian Development Bank (NDB), adding that the AfBD was a full partner.

She said the AfDB and the World Bank formed the anchor supporters and investors of NDB.

According to her, the AfDB is putting in 400 million dollars with an equity stake, which means both loans and equity.

“The World Bank is putting in 500 million dollars, Germany 500 million, and we are still raising both debt and equity. So, by the beginning of 2015, Nigeria will have its own development bank for the first time in this country, “ she said.

Okonjo-Iweala said that small and medium size enterprises, manufacturers and other businesses would be able to get resources at seven to 10 years tenor at reasonable terms of interest. (NAN)

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