CBN adverts for asset manager to manage N1 trn InfraCo, set March 16 deadline
The Central Bank Nigeria (CBN) has advertised for expression of interest by asset managers for the new infrastructure investment company set up to develop the country’s dilapidated social infrastructure and boost economic growth.
In a notice posted on its website, the regulatory bank said the asset managers will originate and manage infrastructure projects, generating returns from investments.
The bank has set a March 16 deadline for the submission of proposals by an interested asset manager.
Nigeria emerged out of economic recession in the fourth quarter of 2020, despite a contraction in the year as a whole. But growth is fragile as poor infrastructure have stymied the economy for decades, holding back the distribution of wealth in Africa’s biggest economy.
President Muhammadu Buhari approved the creation of the Infrastructure Corporation of Nigeria (InfraCorp) in February to focus on infrastructure development, with a seed capital of N1 trillion.
Initial capital will come from the central bank, the Nigerian Sovereign Investment Authority (NSIA), and the Africa Finance Corporation, the central bank has said.
Economists say the poor state of Nigeria’s infrastructure has put at risk the Buhari government’s ambitions for turning the country into a manufacturing hub and growing the agriculture sector.
In 2017, the government set up the Development Bank of Nigeria to boost credit to small-scale businesses that make up almost of half of the economy.
Now the government wants to fix its crumbling roads and rail network that have made it hard to move agricultural and finished goods to markets.
Buhari has pledged to strengthen the agricultural sector, to reduce Nigeria’s costly food imports and diversify the economy away from an over-reliance on oil. But access to long-term funds in local currency has been a major hurdle.
InfraCorp’s board will be chaired by the central bank governor, the managing director of Nigeria’s sovereign wealth fund, the president of the Africa Finance Corporation (AFC), and three independent directors from the private sector.
The aim is for the entity to grow to N15 trillion in assets and capital, the CBN said.