The Governor of Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN), Godwin Emefiele, says the N15 trillion Infrastructure Company Limited (InfraCo), set up by the federal government to reduce the nation’s huge infrastructure gap will commence operations in the third quarter of this year,
Emefiele during an online investors’ forum organised by the Bureau of Public Enterprises (BPE) in collaboration with the Nigerian Investment Promotion Commission (NIPC) and the Nigerian Exchange Group (NGX).
The forum also attended by the Vice President, Yemi Osinbajo, and other dignitaries was focused on the investment opportunities thrown open following Nigeria’s privatisation and economic reforms programmes.
Investors in the N15 trillion InfraCo include the CBN, Nigeria Sovereign Investment Authority (NSIA) and Africa Finance Corporation (AFC).
Emefiele said the federal government has approved the appointment of KPMG as the financial adviser to the infrastructure company, adding that the firm will commence operations in the third quarter of 2021. “For Nigeria to attain meaningful growth, there must be huge investments in key sectors of the economy, including infrastructure such as rail and power, among others.”
The CBN governor noted that over the past 18 months, the COVID-19 pandemic and developments in the global crude oil market had created negatively affected not only the global economy but also the Nigerian economy.
In his words; “For Nigeria, we witnessed a drop in foreign exchange earnings, government revenues along with supply chain disruptions which ultimately led to the economy falling into a recession during the third quarter of 2020. Significant interventions by the monetary and fiscal authorities in key sectors of our economy such as in the manufacturing and agricultural sectors eventually helped and led to the rebound of growth during the fourth quarter of 2020 as gross domestic product (GDP) grew by 0.11 per cent.”
“The sustenance of these measures have also helped to support growth of 0.51 per cent during the first quarter of 2021. Nonetheless, we consider this growth as fragile and therefore seek the support of those of us here at this webinar to continue to work with us to grow our economy.” He added.
For his part, the Vice President, Yemi Osinbajo said despite the fact that government’s economic reforms has been successful in the Telecommunications, Pension and Maritime sectors, the President Buhari’s administration is also trying to address the challenges encountered in the power sector after the privatisation.
” I think that many who have observed the current Nigerian government would agree with me that an article of faith for this government is the importance of mobilising private capital and participation for improving efficiency and driving economic growth and this really explains why we have this collaboration today between the Bureau of Public with the Nigerian Investment Promotion Commission and the Nigerian Exchange Group (NGX) to host this seminar as an important platform drawing attention to investment opportunities to both our local and foreign friends and collaborators.” The Vice President said.
He noted that, privatising utilities of the size of the former state owned Power Company, PHCN simply calls for deeper intentional consideration of the right models and the right type of investors and also funding for the investors over an extended period of time.
“These are some of the challenges that we have seen, but I think that it’s an excellent lesson and there is so much that we are learning with regards to privatisation, especially our utilities, going forward,” he said.
In her messages, the Minister of Finance, Budget and National Planning, Zainab Ahmed, said Nigeria remains the premium investment destination in Africa with huge potential for investment yet unexploited.
She underscored the urgent need for the federal government to forge a more robust partnership with the private sector in the aftershock of the COVID-19 pandemic.
For his part, the BPE Director-General, Alex Okoh, disclosed that more than 36 assets has been designated for sale and concession under Bureau’s 2021 work plan adding that about N500 billion is expected to be contributed into the federal government coffers from the privatisation proceeds in 2021.
He also noted that the Bureau has in the last 32 years generated about N1 trillion while 234 public assets have been sold.