President Bola Tinubu, addressing the audience in Mecca, Saudi Arabia, on Monday evening, forthrightly acknowledged the considerable liabilities left by the previous government, reiterating his pledge to address them without resorting to excuses.
At the same time, the President has taken steps to advance negotiations on a multi-billion dollar infrastructure finance facility with the Islamic Development Bank. This endeavor seeks to secure funding for a diverse set of infrastructure projects across federal and sub-national levels in Nigeria.
The fruition of this development emerged from substantial investment talks between President Tinubu and Dr. Mansur Muhtar, the Vice-President (Country Programs) of the Islamic Development Bank. These discussions took place after the President’s return from evening prayers.
President Tinubu in a statement issued by his Special Adviser on Media and Publicity, Chief Ajuri Ngelale was quoted as saying, ‘Nigeria is the candle of hope that will light the way for Africa. And once Africa is illuminated, the world will be a brighter place for all of humanity. We are determined to create a future for our gifted youths. Investments in Nigeria will be among the world’s most high-yielding. Investor money will flow easily in and out of our country. Processes will be seamless. And your bank has always been a faithful partner in progress.’
‘We have serious deficits in port infrastructure, power infrastructure, and agro-allied facilities that will enable sustainable food security in our country. These deficits present unrivalled opportunity for savvy investors in a market that is by far the largest on the continent. Yes, we had the vision to enable Lekki Deep Seaport before others saw it. We must be bold again.’
‘We inherited serious liabilities, but also assets from our predecessors. We do not make any excuses. There are several sectors replete with investment opportunity for smart investors. Access to finance and guarantees can be a hindrance in some cases. You can come in there. We see you as a critical enabler. You have partnered with us before. We want to scale it up now and do much more with greater ambition and clear vision,’ the President stated.
Acknowledging the historical significance of President Tinubu’s rapid and decisive economic reforms, the Vice-President of the Islamic Development Bank remarked that the global financial community has been closely observing developments in Nigeria and has reached the conclusion that Africa’s largest economy is demonstrating serious intent this time.
‘Mr. President, we know you inherited a very tough set of circumstances. It is to your credit that you have taken very bold steps without delay. We are ready to work with you. We are ready to support big investments in Nigeria. We agree that if Nigeria succeeds, Africa succeeds. And the world needs Africa to succeed.’
‘The Islamic Development Bank President announced the provision of $50 billion U.S. Dollars of new investment for the African continent from the Arab Coordination Group (ACG). This was announced at the Saudi-Arab-African Economic Summit. As the largest market and the largest economy in Africa, Nigeria will certainly receive a significant share. We look forward to supporting Nigeria’s economic transformation,’ the Islamic Development Bank Vice-President said.
Wrapping up his statement, the President conveyed appreciation to the Islamic Development Bank’s management. He reiterated his administration’s resolute commitment to securing the trust and confidence of investors, drawing parallels to his accomplishments in Lagos State years ago.
Among the Nigerian delegation at the Mecca meeting were Governor Bala Mohammed of Bauchi State, Governor Dikko Radda of Katsina State, Governor Umar Bago of Niger State, Senator Atiku Bagudu, the Minister of Budget & Economic Planning, and various others.