Nigeria’s Vice President, Prof. Yemi Osinbajo, has said that Nigeria will create a $25 billion fund with public and private financing to modernise infrastructure and avoid a recession.
Nigeria, Africa’s largest producer of crude, has been forced to slash its budget because of the halving of oil prices since last year, which has contributed to a weaker currency.
“We think that the way out of this, what some have described as an impending recession, is actually to spend rather than to cut back in any way,” Osinbajo said.
Economic growth slowed to 2.35 per cent in the second quarter of 2015, according to the National Bureau of Statistics (NBS), the lowest this decade, as falling income from crude exports and foreign exchange shortages hit businesses. The nation relies on oil for about two-thirds of government spending and 90 per cent of its export income.
Osinbajo stated that the President Muhammadu Buhari administration will target investment toward improving a power supply system that leaves tens of millions of households without grid electricity for hours each day, as well as modernising roads, rail transport and agriculture.
According to him, the government is looking to make the country self-sufficient in rice production in about 24 months, adding that boosting agricultural output in a fertile nation that has become one of the world’s biggest importers of rice would both save foreign exchange outlays and create jobs.
“A lot of those projects will be bankable projects, because we’re looking at projects that will interest private sector investors as well, but they are strategic for us,” the VP said.
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