Abuja - The Minister of State for Finance, Dr Yerima Ngama, said in Abuja on Wednesday that the World Bank granted Nigeria additional 119 shareholding. Ngama announced this while addressing newsmen on the outcome of the first Federal Executive Council (FEC) meeting in 2013, presided over by President Goodluck Jonathan at the State House.
``Nigeria, with an external reserve of over 42 billion dollars, currently has over a thousand shares in the World Bank and extra 119 have now been offered.’’
He said the development shot the country into the league of nations whose opinions had become relevant on major decisions taken by the bank.
``Nigeria is making stronger impact toward global financing. That is why we are given additional financial share in the World Bank. ``It will make us to have greater voice in the affairs of the bank. ``The shares do not have to be paid for immediately until we assume all the rights and privileges. We will only pay when the shares are called up. ``There is no immediate cash outflow,’’ he said.
Ngama stressed that the recognition by the bank was a ``certificate of good health" for the economy. He said it was an affirmation that the Jonathan administration had lifted Nigeria in world economy. ``This is certificate of good health which will attract investors into this country,’’ he said.
The minister added that Nigeria was one of the 16 countries shortlisted for the bank’s Voice Reform Programme for developing and emerging countries. ``In our group, we have Argentina, Brazil, China, India, Indonesia, Islamic Republic of Iran and Korea.
``We also have Kuwait, Mexico, Nigeria, Poland, Russian Federation, Saudi Arabia, South Africa, Ukraine and Venezuela. ``From the 16, only two countries are from Africa, Nigeria and South Africa,’’ he said.
He emphasised that the selection process was based on clear cut criteria, including the strength of the economy, growth rate and the contribution of the country to greater financial architecture. He said the economy was growing very strong and the nation on the path of becoming one of the top 20 economies in the world. ``We are growing faster than many countries that were ahead of us.
``At the end of 2011, we had the third highest economic growth in the whole world,’’ he said.
The Minister of Culture, Tourism and National Orientation, Mr Edem Duke, said FEC also endorsed a new tourism brand identity for Nigeria. Duke said the policy, which sought to give priority attention to exploiting Nigeria's tourism potential, was favourably received by the president and the cabinet members.
He said council applauded the contributions of the creative industry to national development.