Abraham Smith Odih, Abuja.
The Federal Government has sealed a $523,823 (N185.95m) technical assistant financing pact with the Islamic Development Bank for Nigeria’s textile industry and the funding of the National Hajj Commission.
The agreement was confirmed on Monday in a statement issued by the Media Adviser to the Minister of Finance, Paul Ella.
It was signed at the 44th ISDB Group Annual Meeting held in Marrakesh, Morrocco with the theme, “Transformation in a Fast-changing world: The road to Sustainable Development Goals.”
It said the finance minister, Mrs Zainab Ahmed signed the agreement on behalf of the Federal Government while the President of ISDB, Dr Bandar Hajjar signed on behalf of the bank.
The minister said part of the fund which is in form of a grant would be used to address capacity building, acquisition of equipment and logistics upgrade in the Hajj Commission.
She said the grant would also be used for the improvement of cotton, textile and garment value chain in the Federal Ministry of Industry, Trade and Investment.
Specifically, she said while the National Hajj Commission of Nigeria would get $243,823 from grant, the Federal Ministry of Industry, Trade and Investment would be given the balance of $280,000.
She said, “The Technical Assistant Agreement Grant of $243,823.0 to the National Hajj Commission of Nigeria is for capacity building/equipment and logistics upgrade.
“TA grant of $280,000 to the Federal Ministry of Industry Trade and Investment is for the improvement of cotton, textile and garment value chain.”
The statement explained that the finance minister told participants at the conference that state governments in Nigeria were intensifying efforts to boost agriculture and food production.
This, she noted is being achieved through cluster farming which had made it easier for farmers to have access to cheap funds.
“State governments in Nigeria are adopting cluster farming which has eased access to funds by farmers, increased growth and allows access to facilities without collateral”, she stated.