The Federal Government on Monday said the sum of N750bn would be released this week to its Ministries, Departments and Agencies for the execution of some capital projects contained in the 2017 budget.
The Minister of Finance, Mrs. Kemi Adeosun, gave the figure while speaking during a meeting with a delegation of investors from France.
The delegation is made up of 30 companies from France that also expressed their readiness to invest in key sectors of the Nigerian economy.
The 2017 budget, christened Budget of Recovery and Growth, was presented to the National Assembly on December 14, 2016, and passed by the lawmakers in May.
The fiscal document, which was signed into law by Prof. Yemi Osinbajo on June 12, 2017 then as Acting President, has a total expenditure of N7.44tn out of which N2.99tn is for non-debt recurrent spending; N2.36tn for capital expenditure while debt servicing is to gulp N1.66tn.
Adeosun said the government had previously released the sum of N450bn for capital projects, adding that with the additional N750bn, a total of N1.2tn would have been invested in infrastructure projects.
She said, “What the government is doing is to provide the enabling infrastructure that would turn potential into a reality.
“Last year, we released N1.3tn for capital (projects) and so far this year, we have released N450bn. This week, we will release another N750bn. This will take the releases to N1.2tn by the end of the year.”
She told the delegation that the infrastructure deficit in the country was huge, adding that this had provided an opportunity for investment.
The head of the delegation, Mr. Philippe Labonne, said the investors had indicated interest to invest in key sectors of the economy such as banking, infrastructure, renewable energy, agriculture and youth empowerment.
He said the decision of the companies to invest in Nigeria was taken following a directive by the government of France for French companies to increase their investments in Nigeria.
He described the Nigerian economic environment as encouraging following the recent stability in its foreign exchange market.
To achieve their investment objective, Labonne said that most of the French companies would form strategic partnerships with their Nigerian counterparts.
“We are here to assess the investment environment in Nigeria to enable us to take advantage of Nigeria’s investment opportunities.
“We have about 30 companies in this delegation in sectors such as infrastructure, services, agriculture and banking; and the purpose of this meeting is to identify key sectors where we can invest. We are interested in many areas such as energy, agriculture and services, especially towards youth (development); and we will identify other areas subsequently.”
Before the meeting with Adeosun, the delegation had met with the Executive Secretary, Nigerian Investment Promotion Commission, Ms. Yewande Sadiku.
Sadiku had told them that Nigeria remained a top destination of capital inflows on the African continent.
She said, “Nigeria is strategically located in Africa to serve the needs of many countries as a regional hub to the continent. We have a compelling population that provides the market, which means that Nigeria can serve as a manufacturing hub for investors.”
Sadiku said that France was one of the many countries that Nigeria was targeting in its investment strategy.
On investment inflows, she said France appeared as number 10 on the chart and represented about $1bn of the capital inflows that had come into Nigeria.