FG Wants Donor Agencies to Align Devt Initiatives with Nigeria’s Objectives,

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By Ndubuisi Francis in Abuja

The federal government has advised development partners to ensure that their development initiatives in Nigeria align with the nation’s objectives, pointing out that although the county would like some foreign aid, its major focus is generating enough revenue internally.

The admonition came just as it stated that it would appreciate the assistance of the United States of America in providing technical support for the development of transportation infrastructure and  agricultural sector as the country intensifies work on its economic diversification project.

The Minister of Budget and National Planning, Senator Udoma Udo Udoma told the USAID/Nigeria Mission Director, Mr. Stephen Haykin who was in his office in Abuja Friday that although Nigeria is looking inwards for more revenue, it would also appreciate external support especially in the form of technical assistance.

Udoma said development initiatives of development partners in  Nigeria should align with the objectives of the country.

Explaining the essence of the Economic Recovery and Growth Plan (ERGP)recently launched by the Buhari administration, the minister said it was designed to restore growth to a positive and sustained path, to invest in the Nigerian people to improve their living standards, and to build an economy that is globally competitive.

A statement issued by the Media Adviser to the minister, Mr. Akpandem James said to achieve this, Udoma observed that the government set out five key execution priorities with focus on improving the macroeconomic environment; ensuring agriculture value-chain enhancement and food security; enhancing the energy sector; developing transportation infrastructure and encouraging industrialization with particular focus on small and medium scale enterprises.

He said the Nigerian government was fully committed to good governance and had demonstrated this in the steps it has been taking in the fight against corruption which has not only drastically reduced impunity in the handling of government finances but acted as a deterrence to further mismanagement.

He assured the USAID Director that any additional support received from Nigeria’s development partners would be judiciously utilised.

Udoma said the US can contribute to the speedy recovery and growth of the Nigerian economy by increasing the volume of its import of Nigeria’s oil as well as allowing more Nigerian exports into the United States.

The minister stressed that the United States could also encourage its manufacturing companies to take advantage of the proposed Special Economic Zones to set up industries in Nigeria just as they are doing in the Far East Asian countries, particularly since Nigeria is closer to the US and has a huge market.

In his remarks, the USAID Mission Director, Mr Haykin, said it was good to know that Nigeria is strategically aligning its efforts to move forward economically and appreciated the fact that it is much more focused on generating its non-oil revenues.

Haykins said he was in the ministry to exchange ideas with the minister on USAID programmes as they relate to Nigeria’s development strides and to explore further areas of assistance.