The federal government of Nigeria and the European Union (EU) have signed a €15m Euro (N3.3bn) grant agreement to support the 2015 general elections.
Abubakar Suleiman, minister of national planning commission, signed on behalf of the federal government, while Michel Arrion, the EU ambassador to Nigeria, signed for the union.
Noting that the grant was to support Nigeria in scaling up its activities in preparation for the 2015 general elections, Suleiman said that the support would strengthen strategic planning, policy and operational capacities of the electoral management body, while improving legal framework for election.
He explained that the programme of support to electoral cycle in Nigeria seeks to strengthen democracy by supporting the civil society organisations involved in electoral process.
“The financing agreement for Phase II of the support to Nigeria’s electoral cycle for the period of the 2011 to 2015 will be supported under the 11th European Development Fund (EDF) bridging facility,”NAN quoted him as saying.
“The 11th EDF bridging facility is a method of financing used by the international development partners to make available funds for implementation of ongoing programmes and projects.’’
Arrion, who was represented by the deputy head of EU delegation to Nigeria, Richard Young, said the €15m of the 11th EDF’ was to complement the 10th EDF’s €20m, totalling €35m.
He recalled that the 10th EDF support to electoral cycle was ongoing, but allocated fund was inadequate to support activities in the upcoming election.
Arrion stressed the need for the support from the EDF bridging facility to cope with the transition period between the 10th and 11th EDF, recalling that on June 20, the federal government signed the 11th EDF national indicative programme with the EU to implement programmes to boost the country’s health, nutrition, sustainable energy, democracy, law, governance and power sectors.
UN Development Programme (UNDP) resident representative, Mr Dauoda Toure, said the UNDP would implement the project to build capacity of stakeholders before the elections.