The European Union (EU) has pledged 20 million US dollars to support the Nigerian Federal Government’S programme to rebuild markets and warehouses in the North-East and Niger Delta regions.

EU Ambassador to Nigeria Michael Arrion, who made the pledge when he called on Finance Minister Kemi Adeosun here Tuesday, said the funds would be offered to the two regions in the form of budget support.

“Sometime ago, we talked about budget support but we will be able to do that only at the state level, using a special instrument meant for countries emerging from war. We can look at States in the North East and the Niger-Delta and look at specific projects in terms of financial support to their budgets,” he added.

He said the quest to invest in Africa was largely informed by the need to discourage migration to Europe, pointing out that several thousand Nigerian citizens had continued to migrate to Europe.

“We have specific objective for creating this instrument and it is to address the root causes of migration. We are presenting this initiative within the framework of the global response to irregular migration,” he said.

“Today, we have a few thousand Nigerians in Europe, and we feel we have the responsibility of attracting them to come back to Nigeria. By investing in Africa, we will be creating jobs. We will be mixing grants with loans. We believe the grants will have a leveraged effect.”

Arrion said that the EU had in the last two years invested over 300 billion Euros in Africa.

Adeosun said all the financial analysis needed to facilitate support to the states had been put in place. She highlighted the Fiscal Sustainability Plan which is a 21-point fiscal reform programme to enhance transparency, accountability and efficiency.

According to her, the funding arrangement will help in healing the wounds caused by insurgency in the North East. It would also give hope to the Niger Delta people who had been impacted by pipeline bombings and the attendant environmental problems in the area.