The Minister of Finance, Mrs. Kemi Adeosun, has said that multilateral funding agencies have made a commitment to support Nigeria’s investment in infrastructure by using creative financial instruments that will attract more money to close the infrastructure gap in the country.
Adeosun, who spoke to journalists at the World Bank/IMF annual meetings in Washington DC, United States, said, “We were able to make one or two contributions on behalf of Nigeria, one of which was really the need for accelerated investment in infrastructure as the way out of our current situation. That is what we believe will create jobs, that is what we believe will reduce poverty.
“We made that intervention and got some commitments from the multilateral agencies that they will support our investment in infrastructure by using creative financial instruments that will attract more money to add to what we have in the budget to enable us to attack our infrastructure gap.”
According to her, the multilateral agencies are particularly interested in housing and power, and have offered to support the country on how to get concessional loans for the power sector.
“The other issue that was raised is the issue of tax evasion and the fact that we need the multilateral agencies to support us. Trade is very important, but we need the multilaterals to also support us to ensure that multinational companies that trade in Nigeria specifically, and the emerging markets generally, pay their fair share of taxes, and that point was well taken,” the minister added.
Adeosun stated that the dialogue with the agencies had been meaningful, adding that what needed to be done now was to go into the individual meetings and tie up some of the arrangements to specific projects in the next few days.
Confirming an earlier report that the nation might reject the IMF offer of zero-interest loans because of the stringent conditions usually attached to such facilities, the minister said, “No, we are not seeking loans from the IMF; the IMF simply gave us technical support. We are seeking budget support loans from the World Bank and from the African Development Bank, and we are making progress with that.
“We don’t have a balance of payment problem, and that is what the IMF looks to support countries. We have the fiscal challenge with our budget, therefore, we are looking for budget support, which is what the World Bank and the AfDB will do.”