The Minister of Finance, Budget and National Planning, Mrs Zainab Ahmed, said Nigeria’s economy remained the largest in Africa with over N400 billion in Gross Domestic Product (GDP).

The minister said this at the 21st edition of Town Hall Meeting on the achievements of the Federal Government in infrastructure development held on Tuesday in Abuja.

Ahmed said that with over N400 billion in GDP and about 200 million people, Nigeria’s huge and growing population still offers economic challenges and opportunities.

While pledging Federal Governments commitment to continue to prioritise spending on infrastructure, Ahmed said the ministry planned to spend about N1.42 trillion in 2022.

She said that bilateral and multilateral loans financing critical infrastructure were contracted within the framework of the 2020-2023 Medium-Term Debt Management Strategy (MTDS).

According to her, the MTDS provides a guide to the borrowing activities of government in the medium-term, usually four years.

“The ministry under the International Economics Relations Department (IERD) contracts external loans on behalf of the Federal Government of Nigeria from bilateral and multilateral development partners to finance critical infrastructure.

“The Debt Management Office (DMO), in collaboration with relevant stakeholders set targets under medium-term debt management strategy.

“These includes total public debt maximum of 40 per cent from the GDP, portfolio composition of maximum 70 per cent and minimum 30 per cent and domestic debt mix with the minimum of 75 per cent and maximum 25 per cent.

“In the light of constrained revenue, proceeds brought on by several multi-dimensional factors, including the global pandemic had its impact on the domestic economy,” she said.

“Ongoing projects under the Chinese EXIM bank include the Zungeru Hydropower Plant Project funded with 984.32 million dollars and Lagos – Ibadan railway project received 1.26 billion dollars.

“The upgrading and rehabilitation of Keffi-Akwanga-Lafia Road project was funded with 460.82 million dollars, supply of rolling stock and depot equipment for Abuja light rail phase 1 project was funded with 164.91 million dollars.

“The NICTIB Phase II (Galaxy Backbone), four airports terminal expansion project phase II and ancillary works on four airports terminal expansion were funded with 328million, 208.91 million and 183.62 million dollars respectively.

Ahmed acknowledged the contributions of the World Bank, African Development Bank and French Bank in funding relevant infrastructure development in the country.

“World Bank funds the Nigeria electrification project, north core interconnection power transmission line and Nigeria electricity transmission and access project with 350 million dollars, 32.3 million dollars and 486 million dollars respectively.

“The African Development Bank has also funded the Nigeria electrification project, Nigeria transmission and expansion program with a total of 410 million dollars.

“French Development Bank funds the Abuja Power Feeding Transmission Scheme with 170 million dollars and Northern Corridor Transmission Line with 245 million dollars,’’ the minister said.(NAN)