The Islamic Development Bank (IDB) has approved $678 million for the development of critical infrastructure in Nigeria . IDB Vice Chairman Birama Boubacar Sidibe disclosed this in Abuja weekend in an interview with State House correspondents. Sidibe Friday led a delegation of the bank on a courtesy visit to Vice President Mohammed Namadi Sambo. He said Nigeria's appeal for the fund was very recent, stressing that half of it was devoted to financing trade operations with the rest going into education, health, power, water and sanitation sectors. "We're here with a delegation from the Islamic Development Bank Group and I wish to say that Nigeria is one of the most important shareholders and among the top eight shareholders of the bank; meaning that the relationship between our bank and Nigeria is very important to us. We're here to support the development challenge of the country by bringing the resources, the know-how, the advisory from the multi-dimension aspects of our group. We've a group that deals with private sector financing and trade, providing investments guarantee. So, it's a pleasure for us to be here. "We've been discussing the programme, the past programme and what we've ahead of us in terms of priority. Nigeria's appeal to the fund is very recent and from that time till today, we've been able to approve to the tune of $678 million . Half it up till now, was devoted to financing trade operations; very important. The rest was on education, health, agriculture sector and of course, power, water and sanitation sectors. That's what we've been doing in past", he said. Sidibe hinted that new opportunities of infrastructure financing in Nigeria might be extended to highway and railway projects. "Really, the vision is very clear and we believe that we've been really privileged to participate in that big venture together with other stakeholders. Now, the peculiarity is that our institution is your ( Nigeria's ) institution because you're a member of the institution". On how the IDB would ensure proper management of the funds to the benefit of Nigeria , he said the key thing for the government is to put good people that would "be able to take the country forward". He said he was confident of the Nigerian government's programmes, saying the transformation agenda was really good. Sidibe lauded the Nigeria's power privatisation, saying it was the best thing that could happen to any country with the energy challenge. "So, this privatisation is a very good move. And of course, we'll be attending the forum on the subsidiary, and we'll try to bring a number of our group and even other investors immediately to see this market as very vibrant that can potentially attract investors", he added.
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