President Muhammadu Buhari has approved the establishment of a Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) led Infrastructure Company.
The CBN governor, Godwin Emefiele, made known in Abuja, recently, at the annual conference of the Chartered Institute of Bankers of Nigeria (CIBN) themed “Facilitating a Sustainable Future: The role of Banking and Finance”.
Emefiele explained that the Infra-Corp would enable the use of private and public capital to support infrastructure investments that will have a multiplier effect on growth across critical sectors.
He said: “This entity would also be able to raise funds from the capital markets and mobilise long term finance to address some of our infrastructure needs, while providing reasonable returns to investors.
“We believe this well-structured fund can act as a catalyst for growth in the medium and the long run. The support of the banking community will be important in achieving this objective.
“A well-built infrastructure system, comprising hard infrastructure such as roads and ports, and soft infrastructure such as broadband penetration, can have a multiplier effect on growth by enabling the expansion of business activities in the country.”
With declining foreign exchange earnings from crude oil, Emefiele urged banks to consider supporting agro processing companies that are export-oriented.
According to him, “The Central Bank is seeking to leverage ICT in order to improve access to finance for Nigerians. Improved access to finance through the deployment of an inclusive and interoperable payment system would help to reduce the cost of payment services for individuals.
“It is imperative from an economic as well as a security perspective, that our banking and financial system works to support growth in sectors that have significant growth potential, and can enhance the resilience of the Nigerian economy, in the face of external shocks. “