Nigeria not categorised as ‘very poor country’ – FG

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The federal government has said that Nigeria does not receive money or qualify for budget support from international organisations because the country is not categorised as “very poor.”

The minister of state for budget and national planning, Mr. Clem Agba stated this yesterday during a budget defence while fielding questions from the committee on civil societies and development partners, chaired by Mr. Kabir Mohammed Bargaja from Kano state.

Bargaja had asked the minister to explain how funds from foreign donors were spent and disbursed following series of petitions on alleged misappropriation and diversion of funds got from foreign donors by government agencies received by the committee.

He explained that the committee’s mandate is to collaborate with the federal ministry of budget and national planning so that they can development a data base of all the donor agencies and donor partners presiding over by the government.

Responding, the minister said the ministry had not received any donor funds because Nigeria is not seen as a very poor country.

“There is the need to clarify the misconception about donor funding. Specifically, you requested that we brief this committee on the funds that we have received; how they have been transferred and disbursed to government agencies, civil societies and nongovernmental organisations since 2015.

“Let me emphasise here that this ministry, from all I have seen, I have been told from the records that have been made available to me, has not received any donor funds and because we are not in receipt of funds, we cannot transfer or disbursed.

“Because it is just apparent that what you do not have, you cannot give. There are two types of support funding, which are the budget support and the project support. Nigeria currently does not enjoy or qualify for budget support from international donors, because Nigeria is not classified as a very poor country.

“The classification for Nigeria is lower medium income country. Because of this, we are not entitled to budget support. What we do get is project support. The implication of this is that donors do not give us the funds for management, rather they work directly with the various sectors, stakeholders, states or local government in the areas of their interest they want to provide support,” he said.

Agba further explained that there are donors whose interests are in the humanitarian services, while there are some that are more concerned about the environment and want to intervene in those areas.

“Some are more concerned about education and gender issues. So for the purpose of clarification, the Federal Ministry of Finance, Budget and National Planning, is only responsible for the coordinating Nigeria’s multilateral bilateral economic cooperation, including the development deed and technical assistance programme by signing of corporation agreement.

“Before we sign the agreement, after looking through the agreement, we have to obtain a power of attorney from the Ministry of Foreign Affairs to enable us to do it. The agencies of donor we usually deal with is the European Development Funds, the United Nations Development Systems, China, Japan, Korea, DFID from the UK government and the United States Agency For International Development (USAID), the German International Cooperation, to mention a few of the very prominent ones.

“For the European Development Funds, some of the assistance has been in the area of providing support to democratic governance, part of this is providing capacity on legislation and electoral reforms to the National Assembly, institutional strengthening of the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC), and technical assistance to the media for the reporting of electoral matters,” he said.

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