The Federal Government is working on “how to tap into the huge pension fund to finance infrastructure in the country,” Vice President Yemi Osinbajo disclosed at the World Economic Forum holding in Davos, Switzerland on Wednesday.
His Senior Special Assistant on Media and Publicity, Laolu Akande, in a statement, quoted him as saying “To do this, we have to first de-risk such financing models for infrastructure.”
Osinbajo cited President Muhammadu Buhari’s administration’s Social Investment Programme as a radical idea that could advance the African continent.
He told the panel that beyond welfare of Nigerians, their empowerment was at the heart of the N500 billion Social Investment Programme.
“It is about investment in people, in their skills, in youths, that we have a N500bn allocation in our budget last year and proposed for this year also. It is an investment in education and educating large numbers of people in a short time. It’s a radical thing to make that kind of serious investment in education,” he stated.
He cited the N-Power scheme’s training component for young graduates and non-graduates in artesian and industrial middle-level skills as well as the planned N100,000 grants to students of higher institutions in Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics.
Speaking at the panel of “Building Africa” where he was joined by Rwandan President Paul Kagame, Osinbajo said the Federal Government “is committed to investing more in infrastructure than in previous times by ensuring that 30 percent of the budget goes into capital expenditure.”
The vice president, who said an active engagement with the private sector was also of a great deal, cited the Dangote Group’s 650,000bpd refinery project.
Osinbajo, who said the government was confident about the recovery of the economy, was also quoted as asserting that the Nigeria’s economy remained the biggest on the continent.
“It is not difficult to get out of where we are, if we understand why we are where we are. The Nigerian economy remains indisputably the biggest in terms of size of the economy,” he said
At the Business Interaction Group attended by several international investors and business interests hosted by the Nigerian delegation, Osinbajo said the newly developed Economic Recovery Growth Plan of the Federal Government was designed to take nation out of recession and continue to grow the economy.
The vice president also stated that the planning of the 2017 budget was based on the Economic Recovery Growth Plan which, according to him, will be formally launched next month.