The European Union (EU) is supporting the implementation of Nigeria’s National Economic Policies Project with a total sum €1 125 million.
Besides, the Union is also offering technical assistance to strengthen the capacity for the policy implementation, including documentation of the EU Projects in the country.
The Head of Cooperation, EU Delegation to Nigeria and ECOWAS, Cecile Tassin Pelzer disclosed this at the flag-off the EU funded support for the implementation of the Project (EU SINEP), by the Minister of State Finance, Budget and National Planning, Prince Clem Agba in Abuja on Tuesday.
Explaining the Union decided to support the country, the EU Chief said, “Nigeria is a major political and economic force in West Africa and a significant player on the continent with an estimated population of over 200 million, expected to double by 2050.
“Nigeria is the most populous country in Africa and over 60 per cent of that population are under the age of 25. Nigeria has a wealth of natural resources, a thriving entrepreneurial culture and creative industries, yet the country is confronted with numerous political, socio-economic, environmental, and security challenges.
“It is the objective of the EU-Nigeria partnership to make the most of the country’s endowments and contribute to overcoming the obstacles. The EU and Nigeria have a very substantial intertwined, bilateral relationship which encompasses political, security, economic and commercial cooperation”.
Speaking while flagging off the project, the Minister of State described EU-SINEP as an important milestone in expanding the frontiers for excellence by the Federal Ministry of Finance, Budget and National Planning for the delivery of one of its key mandates of National Development Planning.
He commended the EU Delegation for facilitating the approval of the Financing Commitment for the Technical Assistance, saying that the Project was conceived as a support measure under the 11th European Development Fund (EDF) National Indicative Programme (NIP) in demonstration of the EU’s commitment for the promotion of government’s effectiveness, capacity development and service for sustainable growth and poverty reduction in Nigeria.
“I wish to therefore extend the deep appreciation of the Government and good people of the Federal Republic of Nigeria to the EU for the strong support and assistance, which brought this project into fruition.
“The EU–Support to Implementation of National Economic Policies Project is not the usual one-off capacity building programme. The Support goes beyond the organisation of traditional training sessions to include: on-the-job mentoring, coaching and backstopping of personnel for delivery of key tasks.
“At a time when the Managers of the economies of various nation-states are reviewing their processes, approaches and modalities to cope with the uncertainties arising from the Covid-19 Pandemic, the Technical Assistance Project is critical to supporting our efforts in instituting enduring economic policy frameworks required to build-back better for resilience.
“It is gladdening to note that the overall objective of the 11th European Development Fund Support to Public Outreach, which this Project is a part of, is to strengthen operational structures, address capacity gaps, as well as provide tools for better outcomes in the implementation of key development initiatives piloted by the Federal Ministry of Finance, Budget and National Planning.
“Besides facilitating the review and preparation of strategic and sectoral plans, the Project is expected to support the elaboration of identified opportunities to accelerate new investments for critical projects as well as evolve frameworks for the resolution of complex inter-agency problems inhibiting private investments in our economy.
“Though the Project has a modest financial outlay and a short implementation period, it is very evident that the outlined activities to be undertaken are sufficient to make a difference as they are designed to catalyse positive action in different aspects of our economy.
“In consideration of the activities earmarked for the implementation of the EU–Support to Implementation of National Economic Policies Project, opportunities abound to apply the lessons to be learnt and results to be achieved towards developing and implementing proven initiatives using national budgetary resources.
“In this regards, I am confident that the skills and lessons to be acquired in the Project’s Component for documentation of the EU infrastructure project in various communities across the country would be applied in articulating a comprehensive database or digital map of the total infrastructure stock in Nigeria.
“This is desirable for evidence-based decisions in harnessing the full potentials of our investment in infrastructure over the years. Another area of interest in the Project is the planned activities for strengthening the framework for economic and fiscal sustainability both at the national and sub-national levels.
“This is germane for the harmonisation and strengthening of our systems for appropriation and commitment of budgetary resources for fiscal stability and inclusive growth. We will continue to engage the citizens towards removing the legacy challenges on our fiscal capacity, the Minister added.
He also commend the Implementing Partner, Messrs IBF International Consulting, SA and the Technical Assistance Team “for steering this project from the Inception phase to this Implementation stage”.
As part of the flag off, a sensitization workshop was organised for the staff ministry on the National Development Plan 2021 – 2025, with the main objective of producing a pamphlet version which would easily be translated into Hausa, Igbo, Yoruba languages, Pidgin and Braille, for the promotion citizen’s participation in governance.