Nigeria is to receive $600 million from the African Development Bank (AFDB) in 2022 to fund digital and creative enterprises as part of efforts to create jobs and boost employment in the country, Vice President Yemi Osinbajo disclosed at the weekend.

This is coming as the Federal Government continues to build a more resilient and competitive economy in partnership with the private sector to drive the success of Nigeria’s new National Development Plan. Osinbajo spoke at the 2021 Presidential Policy Dialogue of the Lagos Chamber of Commerce and Industry (LCCI).

The efforts, he said “resulted in the conceptualisation of the $600 million investment in Digital and Creative Enterprises programme (i-DICE) with the African Development Bank which we hope will become operational early in 2022,”

The Vice President, while also highlighting the importance of the private sector in driving Nigeria’s economy on the path of sustainable growth and job creation, noted that “the private sector on which so much depends and so well represented here, will rise up to help Nigeria achieve these noble objectives by working closely with the government.”

According to him, the collaboration of both the government and the private sector “must promote productivity and value addition and move away from the despair of managing limited resources to producing and creating more in a competitive and sustainable manner.” Osinbajo further stated that through the new National Development Plan, the Federal Government is placing particular focus on job creation, value addition, and promotion of a business-friendly environment.

Explaining how the collaboration will be implemented, the VP stated that the plan “envisages an investment commitment of N348 trillion over the planned period of which it is expected that government at all levels will come up with about N49.7 trillion or about 14 percent, while the private sector is expected to invest N298 trillion or about 86 percent.”

In addition, the Federal Government has continued to take deliberate steps to encourage the private sector in improving the country’s business environment, by enabling more speedy transactions and removing bureaucratic obstacles. “For instance, the very first Executive Order issued by this government, EO 001 was on promoting transparency and efficiency in the business environment. Executive Order 003, promoting support for local content in public procurement had a similar objective in mind,” Osinbajo recalled.

He assured that when fully implemented, the National Development Plan’s strategy of becoming a value-adding economy would help create more jobs. According to him “the strategic objectives of the Medium-Term Plan includes establishing a strong foundation for a diversified economy, investing in critical infrastructure, enabling human capital development and improving governance and strengthening security. The implementation of the plan is expected to be supported by a range of measures of fiscal, monetary, and trade, including reformation of subsidy regimes and a better functioning foreign exchange market.

“In terms of strategic direction, increasing productivity is the cornerstone. In practical terms, this means focusing on value addition as the guiding principle for all sectors including agriculture, manufacturing, solid minerals, digital services, tourism, hospitality, sports, and entertainment. In agriculture, for example, equal attention is given to primary production as well as other aspects of the value chain such as storage, transportation, processing, marketing, and exports.”

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