The European Union, EU, has pledged $20 million to support the Federal Government to rebuild mainly markets and warehouses in the North-East and Niger Delta regions.
The EU Ambassador to Nigeria, Michael Arrion, who gave the pledge during a visit to the Minister of Finance, Kemi Adeosun, on Tuesday in Abuja, said the funds would be offered to the two regions in form of budget support.
“Some time ago, we talked about budget support but we will be able to do that only at the state level, using a special instrument meant for countries emerging from war.
“We can look at states in the north-east and the Niger-Delta and look at specific projects in terms of financial support to their budgets,” he said.
He said the quest to invest in Africa was largely informed by the need to discourage migration to Europe, pointing out that several thousands of Nigerian citizens have continued to migrate to Europe.
“We have specific objective for creating this instrument and it is to address the root cause of migration. We are presenting this initiative within the framework of the global response to irregular migration.
“Today we have a few thousand Nigerians in Europe, and we feel we have the responsibility of attracting them to come back to Nigeria.
“By investing in Africa, we will be creating jobs. We will be mixing grants with loans. We believe the grants will have a leveraged effect,” he said.
Mr. Arrion said that the EU had in the last two years invested over €300 billion in Africa.
However, Ms. Adeosun said all the financial analysis needed to facilitate support to the states had been put in place.
She highlighted the Fiscal Sustainability Plan which was a 21-point fiscal reform programme that enhanced transparency, accountability and efficiency.
According to her, the funding arrangement will help in healing the wounds caused by insurgent activities in the North East.
She said it would also give hope to the Niger Delta people who have been impacted by pipeline bombings and the attendant environmental problems in the area.