The Head of Department for International Development (DFID) Office in Nigeria, Mr. Chris Pycroft, on Thursday said that the British government, under the UKaid programme, spent £14.98 million on the Policy Development Facility Phase II (PDF II) Project in Nigeria.
Pycroft said this during the PDF II Closeout event with the theme “Leaving A Legacy of Change” held in Abuja
According to him, the five-year project, was set up to support ‘Champion of Change’ with improved capacity and evidence to enable them pursue vital economic and social reforms and that the project which started in April 2015 would be closed in March 2020.
He said: “There are immense challenges in Nigeria but there are also huge opportunities as well and what we have done with the PDF program is to identify a range of reformers within government, within trade, and within the private sector and we have provided them with the support to be able to drive forward the whole series of reforms which we are going to address some of the challenges which you speak about and ensure that we are able to support poverty reduction here in Nigeria.
“In the last five years, we have spent £14.98m on the PDF program with different workstreams. We have provided technical support and advice to the office of the Vice President to be able to lead on areas of economic reform.
“We have provided support into trade facilitation, we have provided support into the private sector and some of the supports are at the state level as well as the federal level,” Pycroft said.
According to him, the impact of the programme has been immense, as it has a transformative impact on the lives of hundreds of thousands if not millions of poor Nigerians.
He said that though PDF II would end in March this year, the DFID had extended what is called the Breach Program so that the reforms they are already engaged in will continue.
He said,” We are already designing a successive program to PDF which will continue to ensure that there is DFID support for reforms here in Nigeria and well into the future. We are very proud of what the program has achieved.
“We know that there is a lot more than needs to be done but we have been able to work very closely with a whole range of Nigerian reformers and a whole range of different Nigerian organizations including with top of government with the office of the vice president to have a real and lasting impact improving the lives of people here in Nigeria.
“There is a lot more that still needs to be done. So we are engaging on a macroeconomic side, we think there is a lot more that we can do for example in tax reforms. So, Nigeria is one of the least tax economies not just in Africa but in the world. we know that the government is keen to increase the amount of revenue generation which is possible from a vibrant economy, the largest economy in Africa.”
He also said the organisation would be working with the Nigerian government on issues to deal with tax reforms, on subsidy, on issues to deal with exchange rate, wrong control, issues to deal with trade; and other major areas of reform which will lift the economic potential of Nigeria and therefore lifting millions of people out of poverty.
In his remarks at the forum, the Special Adviser to the President on Economic Matters in the Office of the Vice President, Ambassador Adeyemi Dipeolu, said the PDF II largely contributed to the success of the Nigerian government policy on Ease of Doing Business, among other benefits.
The PDF II Programme Manager , Dr. Titilola Akindehinde, said Nigeria saved N184.2bn on its top five expenditure items as a result of the PDF II project.