The Infrastructure Corporation of Nigeria Limited (InfraCorp) plans to commit N1 trillion to the completion of Lagos-Ibadan Expressway, Abuja-Kano Highway and the Second Niger Bridge, Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) Governor, Godwin Emefiele hinted yesterday.
Emefiele said that InfraCorp has already provided N170 billion bridge fund for the three key infrastructure projects.
The N15 trillion InfraCorp is co-owned by the CBN, the African Finance Corporation (AFC) and the Nigerian Sovereign Investment Authority (NSIA).
Speaking yesterday at the end of the 2021 Bankers’ Committee retreat in Lagos, the CBN boss said the remaining part of the fund will be sourced through local debts from banks and pension assets.
Emefiele said the fund will be utilised to support the Federal Government in building the required transport infrastructure to move agriculture products to processors, raw materials to factories and finished goods to the markets.
Speaking on the theme: “Building resilience for economic growth”, he said the dedicated privately-managed infrastructure and industrial vehicle will harness opportunities for infrastructure development by originating, structuring, executing and managing end-to-end bankable projects.
He said the Bankers’ Committee appreciates the role of banks as an enabler and catalyst of real sector growth through its advocacy, interventions and targeted support.
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Emefiele said: “We will try to limit foreign borrowing for the projects, except where it is absolutely necessary to take foreign loans. The roads will be tolled. The Bankers’ Committee will in 2022 focus on infrastructure building as there is limited fiscal space and the committee through the banks will focus on infrastructure support.
“What is important is that within the Nigerian financial market, there is a lot of idle funding, and can be well channeled, if packed the way Infracorp has been set up. We want local investors to put their funds in these projects.
“We tend to help government and private sector to raise capital without endangering the balance sheet of the Federal Government of Nigeria. For the members of the Bankers’ Committee, it is an opportunity for us to begin to think about how to reset our economy, how to make our economy self-sustaining.
“We will do everything possible to reduce the rate of poverty in our country. Believing that if we are able to diversify the economy, believing that if we are able to reduce unemployment and poverty in the country, then we can beat our chest and begin to say that we have a country that that is secured and reduce the level of insecurity in the country.
“And we viewed that doing this is upmost and that everything must be done and that banks themselves took up the fact that whereas we have done everything in the past to support the economy but we will still do more as agent’s that should catalysed the economy.
Emefiele said the Federal Government has provided a kind of seed funding initially to jumpstart these projects, but the InfraCorp would now help to look at the viability of those projects.
He said: “We will be working with the government and all the agencies of government to see to it that these projects are completed and more of it would come on stream.
“We know there are so many of the projects and am sure when we begin to take stock of the size of the infrastructure projects we find out that they run into hundreds of trillions of naira but we have decided to start with just with the first phase which is just N15 trillion.”
On how the funds will be sourced, he said: “The projects will be funded through the banks and pension assets, with 50 per cent of the debts expected to be borrowed locally. We will try to limit foreign borrowing but where foreign currencies are needed will provide them to ensure project continuity.
“The roads will be tolled to repay the loans because the projects are financially viable. People will pay for it and enjoy good road infrastructure as that is the only way we can afford it.”