A Senior Special Adviser to the President of the African Development Bank, Prof. Banji Oyelaran-Oyeyinka, on Tuesday, described the Federal Government as the bank’s most difficult client.
He said this while delivering a keynote address at 2022, 3rd Biennial African Scientific Integration Network Conference hosted by the Centre for Energy Research and Development, Obafemi Awolowo University, Ile-Ife, Osun state.
The AfDB boss delivered a paper virtually on the topic, ‘Science, Technology and Innovation for Sustainable Development.’
While responding to questions on what the bank was doing to assist the growth of industries in Nigeria, he made specific reference to a loan facility that the Board of the bank approved for Nigeria and how the Federal Government delayed its approval.
He said, “I can tell you we have many projects in Nigeria and I am leading one of them. For the Special Arrangement Industrial Processing Loan, we raised $540m for each zone in Nigeria.
“We raised it, and the board of the AfDB approved it on December 13 but the Ministry of Finance did not sign until June 1. We were begging them to sign. By the way, this loan has less than a one per cent interest rate for 25 years and an eight-year moratorium. It is like someone is giving you money for free.
“Other countries have just one zone and they have been calling to thank us, thank the president, thank everyone for what you have done for us, but in Nigeria, you will be asked why you are pushing too much. We were supposed to launch the project by March 1. The Nigerian government is the most difficult client.”
Speaking earlier, the Vice Chancellor, OAU, Prof. Simeon Bamire, said the prevalent global environment was creating challenges for poor, small, landlocked, as well as resource-dependent economies. He then charged the conference to seek to identify these challenges and attempt to proffer solutions to them.