The proposed Wholesale Development Bank has raised significant interest among global funding agencies with the World Bank pledging $500 million and the African Development Bank committing some funds for its take off.
And the Federal Government is urging the European Union (EU) to invest in the proposed Wholesale Development Bank through the European Development Bank (EIB).
Minister of State for Finance, Ambassador Bashir Yuguda who spoke while receiving a delegation of the European Union led by its Ambassador to Nigeria, Michel Arrion, said the proposed bank has the objective of boosting the growth of the real sector by ensuring long term financing and drastically cutting down interest rate.
Yuguda said government would soon embark on a road-show to some specific countries to raise more capital.
“We are developing a Wholesale Development Bank in Nigeria. The idea of the bank is to give long term financing to SMEs and increase their source of borrowing. We did a study of the informal sector which showed that the sector constituted 45 percent to our GDP.
“We have a firm belief that if we are able to increase their access to funds especially long term, that will go a long way in increasing the GDP of this country and integrating them into the formal sector of the economy.”
While urging EIB to take advantage of investment opportunities open in the proposed bank, the Minister expressed appreciation for the bank’s insistence that facilities granted Nigerian banks were aligned to the nation’s development priorities.
Yuguda who earlier this year brokered the deal for the EU’s grant of 512 million Euros (about N112 billion) towards supporting agriculture and rural development in the north as well as electricity and governance nationwide further welcomed Arrion’s request for EU to boost its support to the Presidential Initiative for the North-East (PINE) in the rebuilding of the North East zone.
Speaking further he said: “For us in the Federal Ministry of Finance, we are handling the Safe School Initiative which is a very big programme. We appreciate your concern in this regard and will be prepared to provide the necessary support to ensure that your efforts were in tandem with the Presidential Intervention Programme.”
The EU envoy had earlier hinted that EIB, already well established in Cote d’Ivoire and Senegal as a development financier would like to boost its activities in Nigeria by funding long term projects.