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Osinbajo, Emefiele, others prescribe ways to unlock private capital for infrastructure financing

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Vice President Yemi Osinbajo

Vice President, Yemi Osinbajo, has stated that adopting new models with clear and consistent investment guidelines for Public Private Partnership (PPP) would boost infrastructure development in Nigeria and attract more investors.

Osinbajo spoke at a virtual Retail Investors Forum of the Nigerian Exchange Limited (NGX) in collaboration with the Bureau For Public Enterprises (BPE) and the Nigerian Investment Promotion Council (NIPC), yesterday.

According to him, a well articulated PPP model would incentivise increased participation in new opportunities from the nation’s privatisation exercise, as reliance on public expenditure alone was no longer sufficient to meet infrastructure needs.

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He said effective implementation of PPP arrangement in Nigeria would unlock innovative infrastructure financing and management in a more transparent and efficient manner.

Osinbajo noted that in spite of government’s interventions over the years, Nigeria still faces a huge infrastructural deficit, which is currently constraining rapid economic growth.

“This is why we are considering other approaches to complement and boost financing for the development and maintenance of infrastructure in Nigeria. Government cannot provide the needed infrastructure alone.

Osinbajo said government has introduced rules that clearly stipulate the responsibilities of the BPE and Infrastructure Concession Regulatory Commission (ICRC) to provide more clarity on the roles of the two agencies and enhance PPP programmes in Nigeria.

To this effect, he said the BPE would be responsible for the concession of public enterprises and infrastructure already listed in the First and Second Schedules of the Public Enterprises Act.

The enterprise is also expected to act on behalf of the Federal Government as the counterparty on all infrastructure projects being developed on a PPP basis.

On the other hand, the ICRC would continue to act as the regulatory agency for PPP transactions with powers to inspect, supervise and monitor projects and processes in order to ensure compliance with relevant laws, policies and regulations.

He urged multilateral agencies, international investors and institutions to take opportunity in Nigeria’s investment landscape already put up by the government.

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Governor of Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN), Godwin Emefiele, said the apex bank is working with the Nigerian Sovereign Investment Authority and other stakeholders to create a N15 trillion-infrastructure fund to help catalyse growth in key sectors of the economy.

According to him, the fund will also unlock investment from local sources as well as attract foreign private investment in infrastructure development.

He disclosed that the Infrastructure Company (Infraco), a public-private partnership infrastructure company through which the fund will be generated, would commence operations by third quarter (Q3) 2021.

The Director General of the Bureau for Public Enterprise (BPE), Alex Okoh, said over 234 state-owned enterprises and assets have been privatised across various sectors in the past 32 years

He also disclosed that the Federal Government has so far generated N1 trillion from the sale, commercialisation and the concession of the 234 public assets.

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