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11.06.2004 Business & Finance

Nigeria sets up new assistance fund

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Accra, June 11, GNA - Nigeria, one of the pillars of the African Development Bank ADB Group has signed an agreement establishing the Nigerian Technical Cooperation Fund (NTCF) with the ADB.

The NTCF would strengthen the financial muscle of the ADB Group to assist Regional Member Countries (RMCs) to prepare and implement development projects and build capacity in the spirit of brotherhood and the much-desired south-south cooperation.

Dr (Mrs) Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala, Nigeria's Finance Minister, and ADB's President, Mr Omar Kabbaj signed for their respective cooperating partners.

RMCs are the African members of the ADB Bank Group while non-RMCs are the non-African members - notably European, Asian and Arab members. The new agreement places a maximum grant of resources worth 2.5 million dollars per annum at the disposal of the ADB Group, which includes a free-limit facility between 50,000 dollars per eligible activity up to a minimum of 250,000 dollars per annum. A major attraction of the NTCF is the opportunity it gives to consultants from African countries other than Nigeria, the donor country, to benefit from retainers' contracts for activities financed out of the Fund.

"They are entitled to a 20 per cent of such contracts which include the preparation of feasibility studies, project-cycle activities, mid-term review and project audits.

African professionals in the Diaspora are also lucky beneficiaries of NTCF's unique offer as they have greater opportunities than they have ever had to contribute to rebuilding the Continent while at the same time actualising themselves.

The Fund is a departure from other bilateral funds that offered limited opportunities to only the donor countries' own professionals and consulting firms.

It is designed to assist RMCs in areas of strategic importance to poverty reduction including agriculture, education, business and finance, science and technology, health and public administration. To access NTCF Funds, request must come from the Bank's User Departments for activities covered by areas of intervention. Only prospective consultants and suppliers registered with the Bank Group's Procurement Unit would be considered for suitability assessment. Nigeria is the largest shareholder of the ADB with close to 15 per cent of regional shareholding and some nine per cent of the capital stock.

Nigeria first established the Nigerian Trust Fund with 80 million dollars in 1976 and with a current capital of 550 million dollars the NTF has assisted 36 RMCs in virtually all sectors of economic and social development. 11 June 04

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