Omololu Ogunmade in Abuja
President Muhammadu Buhari Tuesday in Abuja received with excitement information about the willingness of the United Nations Secretary-General, Antonio Guterres, to co-chair a special session to raise $50 billion to fund the inter-basin water transfer from Central Africa to revive the Lake Chad.
The president who expressed his delight while receiving the response of the Secretary-General to his earlier letter through the President of the African Development Bank, (ADB), Dr. Akinwumi Adesina, at the State House, said such a special forum was necessary in view of the size of the capital needed for the project by the Lake Chad Basin countries.
According to a statement by Special Assistant to the President on Media and Publicity, Malam Garba Shehu, the president while addressing issues directly relating to the ADB, was happy about the successes recorded in these four years of Adesina’s tenure at the continental bank.
Shehu also said Buhari cited the bank’s contribution to the growth of Nigeria’s agriculture and infrastructure, and commended what he called “its critical gesture in 2016 during the difficult period of economic recession through the issuance of USD600 million budget support facility.”
Furthermore, he said Buhari used the occasion to highlight the successes achieved by his administration through the implementation of the Economic Recovery and Growth Plan (ERGP), stressing that his focus will continue to be on diversifying the economy and making it more inclusive as well as the creation of jobs in critical sectors like the Information Communication Technology (ICT) and manufacturing so that “young people will earn a decent living.”
The statement also said the president noted that a lot was being done on the provision of guaranteed off-takers for farmers as well as infrastructure provision which he said would include airports, rail, roads and water ways.
It further said Buhari admitted that “we still have significant work ahead in the provision of power, small scale cottage industries and promotion of the agro-industrial zones coming up in the country.”
Furthermore, the statement said the president asked for ADB’s continued support in this regard.
According to Shehu, Adesina in his presentation, thanked Buhari for his support, without which, he said, he would not have been ADB president and listed his record of achievements in the last four years among which he said was lending to critical sectors of the Nigerian economy which had grown to an unprecedented $4.3 billion.
“Dr Adesina told President Buhari that the fortunes of the Bank had significantly improved, earning global ratings in accountability and transparency, improved incomes and for making impact on the lives of millions of its target population.
“The ADB president sought for the support of the Nigerian leader for a ‘general capital increase’ to fast track the development of the Bank, to which President Buhari gave all assurances and directed the Ministry of Finance to engage and expedite action on the issues brought to the government by the ADB,” the statement added.