Nigeria seeks United States support for infrastructure development

The Federal Government has called for technical assistance from the U.S. in the development of transportation infrastructure and its agricultural sector.

The Minister of Budget and National Planning, Sen. Udoma Udo Udoma said this in a statement issued by his Media Adviser, Mr James Akpandem  in Abuja.

Udoma said this when he received the USAID/Nigeria Mission Director, Mr Stephen Haykin in his office.

The minister said that Nigeria would appreciate the assistance of the USA in providing technical support in those sectors as the country intensifies work on its economic diversification project.

“Nigeria is looking inwards for more revenue; it nonetheless appreciates external support especially in the form of technical assistance,’’ he said.

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

He told his guest that the essence of the Economic Recovery and Growth Plan (ERGP) was to restore the growth of the country and to put it on a sustainable path.

The ERGP projects that Nigeria will make significant progress to achieve structural economic change with a more diversified and inclusive economy in five key areas by 2020.

The key areas are stable macro-economic environment; achieve agriculture and food security; ensure energy sufficiency in power and petroleum products; and drive industrialisation focusing on Small Medium Enterprises (SMEs) as well as improve transportation infrastructure

He said the Federal Government was fully committed to good governance and had demonstrated this  in its fight against corruption.

According to him, the effort has reduced corruption in the country and also reduced impunity in the handling of government finances.

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

He said the U.S. could contribute to the speedy recovery and growth of the Nigerian economy by increasing the volume of its Nigeria’s oil imports as well as allowing more Nigeria’s exports into the country.

It could also encourage its manufacturing companies to take advantage of the proposed Special Economic Zones to set up industries in Nigeria.”

“It could encourage its manufacturing companies to take advantage of the Zones just as they are doing in the Far East Asian countries since Nigeria is closer to the US and has a huge market,’’ Udoma said.

Haykin said it was good to know that Nigeria aligned its efforts to move forward economically and appreciated the fact that it was much more focused on generating its non-oil revenues.

The official said he was in the Ministry to exchange ideas with the minister on USAID programmes as they related to Nigeria’s development strides and to explore further areas of assistance.

NAN/Ime N