The Vice President decries the high interest rates charged by local banks.
Nigeria’s Vice President, Namadi Sambo, has called on the Islamic Development Bank to utilise the position of Nigeria as the biggest economy in Africa to finance development projects in the country.
The Vice President made the call in Makkah when he received the President of the Islamic Development Bank, IDB, Ahmad Ali, who was in the country for bilateral talks on various IDB operations in Nigeria.
“I extend the appreciation of the President of Nigeria, Dr Goodluck Jonathan, who has been informed about this visit. We appreciate the contribution of IDB to the development of the private sector in Nigeria, and we need to see more of that”, said Vice President said.
Mr. Sambo, who had in his delegation billionaire Aliko Dangote, and Kashim Shettima of Berbedos Group, told the IDB President that Nigeria was planning to borrow for 2014-2016, and therefore IDB should take advantage of the opportunities offered in Nigeria in financing projects.
He said government has plans to invest heavily in gas processing and production, construction of power plants, the development of small and medium enterprises, SMEs as well as in transportation.
The Vice President expressed deep concern over the high interest rates charged by various banks on SMEs, urging the IDB to use the resources at its disposal to come up with a formula using Islamic finance in order to support small scale entrepreneurs.
While commending IDB for speeding up the process of opening a gateway office in Nigeria, which is due to commence operation very soon, Mr. Sambo said the bank has lived up to its expectation as it celebrate 40th anniversary.
The President of IDB, Ahmad Ali, thanked Nigeria for its commitment to IDB, urging him to use his influence to ensure the take-off of the bilingual education programme in Nigeria which can help in addressing some of the concerns of Nigeria affecting the youth.
Mr. Ali called on the Vice President to work with IDB in starting a crash programme on the bilingual education programme in order to maximize its benefit.
The President of IDB was accompanied by representatives from the entities of the IDB Group, the Islamic Corporation for the Development of the Private Sector (ICD), International Islamic Trade Corporation (ITFC) and the Islamic Corporation for the Insurance of Investment and Export Credit (ICIEC).