The Federal Government has announced that the World Bank has increased Nigeria's share holding in the bank by additional 119, a development that is expected to increase the country's voice in the affairs of the bank.
Minister of State Finance, Mr Yerima Ngama who briefed reporters, at the end of Council meeting said members of the Federal Executive Council, presided over by President Goodluck Jonathan applauded the news.
He said this development has also put Nigeria among the league of nations whose opinions would become relevant as major decisions are taken in the bank.
Ngama said with Nigeria's current shares at the bank put at about 1100; representing a positive sign of strong confidence in Nigeria's economic policies under the President Jonathan's transformation agenda and is expected to among other things further drive foreign Direct Investment in 2013.
"This is certificate of good health which will attract investors into this country. If out of 118 countries, Nigeria is among the best 16.
"Our own peers are Argentina, Brazil China, India, Indonesia, Islamic Republic of Iran, Korea, Kuwait Mexico, Poland, Russian Federation, Saudi Arabia, South Africa, Ukraine and Venezuela"
"From the 16 only two countries are from Africa. Nigeria and South Africa".
Ngama noted that the development which is coming under the bank's "voice reform programme" followed people complaints about the marginalisation of the continent by the bank.
"Complains that World Bank group is dominated by the West, led the bank to come up with its voice reformed programme by setting up a committee which selected 180 countries out of which the final 16 including Nigeria finally emerged as a benefiting nation
"This is certificate of good health which will attract investors into this country. If out of 118 countries, Nigeria is among the best 16."
"This selection was based on clear cut criteria; including the strength of economy, rate of growth of the economy; contributions of the country to global economic architecture and based on these criteria, Nigeria was selected amongst the 16 countries that were selected"
"The rate at which we are implementing the transformation agenda, Nigeria will emerge one of the top twenty in develop economies of the world"
"The way we measure the growth of the economy is basically two. One is through the productivity. What we got in nigeria is in Naira, so to compare with the size of other economy, we have to use the exchange rate and we have two choices: we can use the market base exchange rate or we can use the PPP exchange rate."
The Finance Minister of State said "the PPP exchange rate, gives a better comparison across countries and that is what the world bank is using".
He added that a look at PPP exchange rate shows that Nigeria is far in excess of $450 billion adding that "if you look at market base exchange rate we are also far in excess of $260 billion. If you use the PPP by the time we grow the GDP and save up to a trillion we may end up being number 18 or 17 in the world.
"With what is going on we strongly believe that in the next two to three years the growth will accelerate", he said.
Ngama added that "Export out of Nigeria has grown significantly. We know we have problems giving credit to agriculture. Government has created 5000 jobs in 14 states".
He however admitted that the nation's growth rates have been badly hit by decay in infrastructure which he said is also being addressed by the Jonathan's administration.
"The growth in the country is gradually being dragged down by infrastructure deficit which this government is fixing. Everybody knows today that the power supply has improved significantly. Right now as we are talking we have already paid the contractors that are building gurara dam and the turbines are coming. Once you put those turbines, the road from Onne port up to Kaduna, the contract has been given to fix all the pot-holes just to bring in d turbines.
"This year, our programme is to start commissioning all the completed power generating plants. With this, all the factories that depend on generating sets will all switch to power and activities will accelerate at a far higher rates.