President Muhammadu Buhari has welcomed the acceptance 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.
Receiving the response of the Secretary-General’s letter through the President of the African Development Bank, ADB Dr. Akinwumi Adesina in Abuja, President Buhari said such a Special Forum was necessary in view of the money required for the project which was unavailable to the Lake Chad Basin countries.
The President also expressed delight with the successes recorded in the four years of Dr Adesina’s tenure at the African Development Bank.
President Buhari specifically 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.”
The President used the occasion to highlight the successes achieved by the administration through the implementation of the Economic Recovery and Growth Plan, ERGP.
He stressed that he would continue to focus 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 would earn a decent living.”
In his presentation, Dr Adesina who thanked President Buhari for his support, without which, he would not have been ADB president, and listed his achievements in the last four years to include lending to critical sectors of the Nigerian economy grew to an unprecedented 4.3 billion US Dollars.
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.
In another development, President Muhammadu Buhari says his administration will ensure that the efforts of hardworking Nigerian farmers are respected.
The President told members of the United Kingdom-based Foundation for Good Governance for Development in Nigeria who paid him a visit at the State House, that he had directed the Ministry of Agriculture and the Central Bank of Nigeria to bypass the knotty issue of collateral so that farmers would get easy access to capital.
President Buhari also identified smuggling as a threat to domestic agricultural production and processing, and promised to continue to fight the menace with all means available to government.
The President gave the assurance that his second term will pay greater attention to education and health, in addition to security, economy and the war against corruption.
Earlier, the leader of the group, made up of scholars and professionals, Dr Arabo Ibrahim Bayo, said they came together on the basis of a shared passion for the country’s development, and in the firm belief that President Buhari represents the best in terms of leadership that Nigeria can offer.
He commended the achievements of the administration in the last four years in implementing its three cardinal objectives of providing security, improving the economy and the war against corruption, and suggested the declaration of an emergency to tackle challenges in education and health sectors.