Ndubuisi Francis in Abuja
The federal government is set to release another N750 billion to its ministries, departments and agencies (MDAs) as part of the capital component of the 2017 budget.
It had earlier released N450 billion for capital projects since the budget was signed into law last June.
Should it make good its promise, it would have released almost 50 per cent of its capital spending plan for the 2017 fiscal year.
The Minister of Finance, Mrs. Kemi Adeosun, who made the disclosure Monday during a meeting with a delegation of investors from France, said the sum of N450 billion had previously been released for capital projects, adding that with the additional N750 billion, the sum of N1.2 trillion would have been invested in infrastructure projects.
The delegation was made up of 30 companies from France that had expressed their readiness to invest in key sectors of the Nigerian economy.
Adeosun said: “What the government is doing is to provide the enabling infrastructure that would bring the country’s potential to reality.
“Last year, we released N1.3 trillion of the capital budget and so far this year we have released N450 billion and this week we will release another N750 billion and this will take the releases to N1.2 trillion by the end of the year.”
In his remarks, the head of the French delegation, Mr. Philippe Labonne, said the investors had indicated interest in investing in key sectors of the economy such as banking, infrastructure, renewable energy, agriculture and youth empowerment.
The decision of the companies to invest in Nigeria was taken following a directive by the government of France encouraging French companies to increase their investments in Nigeria.
He described the Nigerian economic environment as encouraging owing to the stability in the foreign exchange market in recent months.
To achieve their investment objectives, Labonne said most of the French companies would form strategic partnerships with their Nigerian counterparts.
“We are here to assess the investment environment in Nigeria to enable us to take advantage of the country’s investment opportunities.
“We have about 30 companies in this delegation in sectors such as infrastructure, services, agriculture and banking and the purpose of this meeting is to identify key sectors where we can invest.
“We are interested in many areas such as energy, agriculture, services especially towards youths and we will identify other areas subsequently,” he said.
Before the meeting with Adeosun, the delegation met with the Executive Secretary of the Nigerian Investment Promotion Commission (NIPC), Ms Yewande Sadiku.
Sadiku had informed the French investors that Nigeria remains a top destination of capital inflows on the African continent.
She said: “Nigeria is strategically located in Africa to serve the needs of many countries as a regional hub on the continent.
“We have a compelling population that provides the market which means that Nigeria can serve as a manufacturing hub for investors.”
While expressing delight in the interest shown by the investors, Sadiku noted that France was one of the many countries that Nigeria was targeting in its investment strategy.
On investment flows into Nigeria, Sadiku said France was number 10 on the list, accounting for about $1 billion of the capital importation into Nigeria.