• Sunday, May 19, 2024
businessday logo


FG to establish new vehicle for long term finacing, says Jonathan


President Goodluck Jonathan says the Federal Government is working with multi-national finance institutions to help create improved access to medium to long term funding for Nigerian entrepreneurs in 2014.

The President stated this in his new year message  to Nigerians as the nation attains 100 years of nationhood, on the 1st of January, 2014.

Expressing concern about inadequate affordable financing opportunities, Jonathan said government would address the gap by providing a new wholesale development finance institution in 2014 to provide medium-to long-term financing for Nigerian businesses.

“We are working with partners such as the World Bank, the Africa Development Bank, the BNDES Bank in Brazil, and KfW in Germany, to realise this project. Our existing Bank of Agriculture and Bank of Industry will be re-structured as specialised institutions to retail financing from this new wholesale development bank.”

Goodluck_jonathan3The President who was speaking at the Catholic Church of the Assumption, Area 3 Garki, Abuja, on Sunday, also disclosed that government would formally role out the programme for the nation’s centenary celebration soon, and that celebration would take place in late February.

“Today is a special day, very special. 1st January, 2014 because we have been informing you that the amalgamation of our country to what we now call Nigeria happened on the 1st of January, 1914.

“ Today, modern Nigeria is 100 years old. The formal ceremony will take place by late February, the programme will soon be advertised for all Nigerians to see and know the areas they will participate because it is a programme for all of us. All the religious houses will be involved in one form of prayer or the other.

“So, today, we are not just celebrating the new year but we are also celebrating a special new year. A new year modern Nigeria is 100 years. And we use this period to begin to think what will be Nigeria in the next 100 years.”

The President pointed out that Nigeria has gone through several challenges in its 100 years of existence, and stressed that his administration was working hard to make life better for Nigerians.

He said he would work with the National Assembly to ensure improved governance.

“I assure you that as the person you have elected to serve you within this period, I will work hard with the National Assembly, my cabinet and other officers of government to ensure good governance to make sure that Nigerians will get what generally we call the dividends of democracy.”

The President also assured that in 2014, government would continue to prioritise investments in key sectors such as  infrastructure development, power, roads, rail transportation and aviation. In the past year, the Federal Government completed the privatisation of four power generation companies and 10 power distribution companies. We are also in the process of privatising 10 power plants under the National Integrated Power Projects (NIPP).

“We shall boost investments in transmission to ensure power generated is properly evacuated and distributed. In this regard, we have already mobilised an additional $1.5 billion for the upgrade of the transmission network in 2014 and beyond.

“Government will also strengthen regulation of the sector, and closely monitor electricity delivery to increase this beyond 18 hours per day. We will complete the privatisation of the NIPP projects, accelerate work on our gas pipeline infrastructure and also continue to invest in hydro-electric power and clean energy as we monitor the effects of climate change on our economy”

On the challenges in the health sector, the President said Nigeria is building strong safety nets and improving access to primary healthcare under the Saving One Million Lives programme.

“In 2013, we recruited 11,300 frontline health workers who were deployed to under-served communities across the country. Over 400,000 lives have been saved through our various interventions. We have reached over 10,000 women and children with conditional cash transfer programmes across eight states and the FCT and we intend to scale up this successful initiative.

“Our national immunisation coverage has exceeded 80%. And for the first time in the history of the country there has not been any transmission of the Type-3 Wild Polio virus for more than one year. We have also eradicated the guinea worm that previously affected the lives of over 800,000 Nigerians yearly.

“ In tertiary health care, we upgraded medical facilities across the country. Two of our teaching hospitals – the University of Nigeria Teaching Hospital in Enugu, and the University College Hospital in Ibadan – commenced open heart surgeries this year after the installation of new facilities.”

He  also assured that the budget for 2014 which is now before the National Assembly is specifically targeted at job creation and inclusive growth, adding that government was keenly aware that in spite of the estimated 1.6 million new jobs created across the country in the past 12 months as a result of governments actions and policies, more jobs are still needed to support our growing population.

By: Tony Ailemen