Hope for infrastructure renewal as N15tr Infracorp starts operation
Begins With Second Niger Bridge, Federal Roads
There may be a silver lining for the country’s public infrastructure afterall, as the N15 trillion Infrastructure Corporation of Nigeria (InfraCo) took off, yesterday, with the execution of the term sheet with the independent asset managers and unveiling of the company’s pioneer Chief Executive Officer, Dr. Lazarus Angbazo.
The asset managers, which the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) Governor, Godwin Emefiele, described as top-rated, are the AAA Consortium, Chapel Hill Denham, Africa Infrastructure Investment Managers and Sanlam Infraworks.
The contract execution ceremony held at the CBN office, Lagos, was witnessed by representatives of the Debt Management Office (DMO), the Presidency and other critical stakeholders of InfraCorp.
Emefiele pointed out that the asset managers, who will be working concurrently to achieve set goals, “have concluded the initial discussions on how they will operate together to deliver infrastructure to the nation”.
Yesterday’s milestone in the efforts towards the full operation of the behemoth came after 18 months of painstaking work to lay a solid foundation for sustainable development and maintenance of the country’s infrastructure, Emefiele, who is chairman of the company, said at the signing of the term sheet.
He noted that the head-hunt of Angbazo, a former President and CEO of General Electric (GE) Nigeria, and the signing off of four asset managers against one resonate with the speed and urgency of delivering on critical infrastructure through InfraCorp.
Having executed the term sheet, which sets rights and obligations of the different parties, as well as the governance structure of the company, Emefiele said the infrastructure company would proceed immediately to sourcing the N14 trillion shortfall for its first phase of operation.
InfraCorp is banking on N1 trillion equity investment by CBN, Nigeria Sovereign Investment Authority (NSIA) and Africa Finance Corporation (AFC) as well as N14 trillion to be raised from the debt market for its full take off. The governor stressed that N8 trillion to N9 trillion of the funding shortfall could be raised from the local debt market, as the financial system, including the pension industry, is awash with liquidity that could be channelled to commercially-viable projects that would boost the economy and public earning in the long run.
InfraCorp, according to Emefiele, will take off with the Lagos–Ibadan and Second Niger Bridge completion as well as Abuja–Kaduna–Kano Road.
“This type of collaboration, I believe, provides a practical template to solve many of the complex socio-economic problems that our nation faces. From public health, climate change and the energy transition to infrastructure and beyond, the public sector cannot resolve these issues by itself. The private sector, correctly incentivised, can deploy the critical resources and capacity to deliver successfully.
“Economic storms continue. However, as global trade networks retreat and agreements fail, Africa moves against this trend, providing opportunities to companies in Nigeria. For Nigerian companies to focus successfully on their competencies, they need to be assured of the infrastructure that they rely upon. The deficit may be large; however, with resources from the private sector, targeted incentives from the public sector and the drive of our citizens, I strongly believe that Nigeria will be ready, willing and able to deliver the infrastructure that will be the foundation of our development,” Emefiele said.