The Federal Government has revealed plans to boost the digital economy with a $600m Innovation Fund from the African Development Bank (AfDB).
Vice President Yemi Osinbajo stated this on Monday during a virtual interaction at the World Economic Forum (WEF) Country Strategy Dialogue on Nigeria.
The WEF Dialogue series, held in select countries, is aimed at promoting productive conversations about growth and investment.
“We have a $600million Innovation Fund with the African Development Bank which we hope will really energize the industry,” Osinbajo was quoted as saying in a statement issued by his spokesman, Laolu Akande.
Osinbajo identified the digital economy as an area that is “big for us and the next couple of years, and we are focusing on it.”
According to him, the government’s strategy is to enhance productivity by focusing on value addition as the guiding principle for all sectors, especially agriculture, manufacturing, solid minerals, digital services, tourism, hospitality, and entertainment.”
The Vice President restated the Federal Government’s plans to revamp the nation’s agricultural sector.
“We are also looking at reciprocity for incentives, we have a very robust incentive regime but we think it’s time to really look at reciprocity. What jobs are created? Where is the value addition in return for these fiscal and other incentives?
“It is important to loosen generalized restrictions on trade and focus instead on allowing imports of goods to which value can be added before domestic consumption or exportation,” he added.
On electricity, Osinbajo explained that rather than expending energy on managing the distribution of 5000MW that is currently being transmitted through the National Grid, the focus must be on increasing the supply of electricity including through allowing mini-grids, pushing solar power connections, and allowing integrated power companies to emerge.
Speaking on the new National Development Plan, Osinbajo noted that the new strategic direction will enable the country to achieve a GDP growth rate that is higher than the rate of growth of the population and enable more social inclusion.
According to the VP, “three broad objectives of our post-COVID-19 development strategy; the first is to overcome the economic slowdown caused by the COVID-19 pandemic and the second is to achieve a GDP growth rate that is higher than the rate of growth of population and the third broad objective is to enable more social inclusion.”
Osinbajo noted that in monetary policy terms “a key issue is the availability and cost of accessing foreign exchange. It would also be important, in my view, to increase foreign exchange inflows in the economy.