The European Union Delegation says Nigeria is a rich country which should not depend on aid from foreign donors.
Mr Michel Arion, the EU Ambassador and Head of Delegation to Nigeria and ECOWAS, expressed the opinion in Abuja on Tuesday.
He told newsmen that any money given to Nigeria by the EU was “seed money.”
Arion explained that aids given to Nigeria by the EU were to fund projects on a pilot scale while the Nigerian Government was expected to replicate them on a larger scale.
“Please note that our aid is strategically tailored to unlock Nigeria’s potential. Nigeria is not an aid-dependent economy, with aids constituting less than one per cent of its GDP.
“Therefore, when we fund projects on a pilot scale, governments at various levels can replicate them at a larger scale for wider reach and greater benefits.
“Nigeria is a rich country, but Nigerians are regrettably poor.
“To really develop the economy in a sustainable way, the core issue will be to redistribute social benefits through fiscal measures using taxation, and social measures using safety nets.
“Strengthening the institutions is absolute key in this regard”, he said.
The EU official added that the EU’s development assistance to Nigeria, under the 11th European Development Fund, would focus on the North.
According to him, the focus on the Northern part of the country was due to the fact that development indicators in the area were “unacceptably worse.’’
He said the emphasis would be on improved access to basic social services such as health, nutrition and social protection.
“The fund will also be on improved access to electricity which will lead to economic growth and improved security”, he said.
Arion said the EU recently signed an agreement with the Nigerian government to fund a pilot project.
According to him, the project is aimed at providing community-based psychological support and protection services for children and adolescents affected by the Boko Haram insurgency in Borno.