EU

EU Pledges 20m Euros To Rebuild North East, Niger Delta

The European Union (EU) has pledged its support for the ongoing efforts of the Nigerian Government to rebuild some parts of the North East and Niger Delta regions.

To this end, the EU earmarked 20 million Euros for the reconstruction of markets and warehouses in Borno and Delta States.

The EU Ambassador to Nigeria, Mr. Michael Arrion, who gave the pledge during a visit to the Minister of Finance, Mrs. Kemi Adeosun in Abuja, said the funds would be offered to the two states in the form of budget support.

“Sometime ago, we talked about budget support but we will be able to do that only at the state level, using a special instrument meant for countries emerging from war, and we can look at states in the North East and look at specific projects in terms of financial support to their budgets,” he said.

Arrion said that the quest to invest in Africa was largely informed by the need to discourage migration to Europe, stressing that several thousands of Nigerian citizens have continued to migrate to Europe.

“We have specific objective for creating this instrument and it is to address the root cause of migration. We are presenting this initiative within the framework of the global response to irregular migration.

“Today, we have a few thousand Nigerians in Europe and we feel we have the responsibility of attracting them to come back to Nigeria.

“By investing in Africa, we will be creating jobs, we will be mixing grants with loans (and) we believe the grants will have a leveraged effect,” he said.

In her response, Mrs. Adeosun said all the financial analysis needed to facilitate support to the states had been put in place.

She further pointed out that the Fiscal Sustainability Plan required a 21-point fiscal reform programme that enhanced transparency, accountability and efficiency.

The Minister added that the funding arrangement would help in healing the wounds caused by insurgents in the Northeast and that it would also give hope to the Niger Delta people who have been impacted by series of attacks on oil installations and the environmental problems in the region.

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