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CBN to launch N15trn infrastructure fund in October

The Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) is set to launch InfraCorp Plc, the N15trn Infrastructure Fund, meant to boost funding for capital projects, in October.

Mr Godwin Emefiele, CBN, governor, disclosed this on Tuesday while speaking at the 14th annual conference of the Chartered Institute Bankers of Nigeria (CIBN).

The CBN governor said that the project, conceptualised by the apex bank alongside African Finance Corporation and the Nigerian Sovereign Investment Authority, would help to address the challenge of infrastructure deficit in the country.

Emefiele also said plans were in top gear to establish the Nigerian International Financial Centre (NIFC) to consolidate growth and resilience of Nigerian banks in the last decade.

According to him, the NIFC will act as an international gateway for capital and investments, driven by technology and payment system infrastructure.

“This new financial hub will curate local and international banks to make them global champions. The NIFC will be a 24/7 Financial centre that will complement London, New York and Singapore financial centres and enable an acceleration of our homegrown initiatives such as Infracorp plc, the N15 trillion infrastructure fund which we will be launching in October 2021.”

He said the NIFC would also complement initiatives on the Nigerian Commodity exchange and the National Theatre creative hubs for youths as well as the E-naira project which would also debut in October 2021.

The NIFC, he added, would take advantage of existing laws such as the Banks and Other Financial Institutions Act (BOFIA) 2020, NEPZA and other CBN regulations to create a fully global investment and a financial hub where monies, ideas, and technology will move freely without hindrance.

Emefiele stated that CIBN had been a strong supporter of CBN’s policies and programmes.

He described the conference as timely, given the unprecedented events of 2020, especially when considered the measures put in place by policymakers to reverse a significant downturn in economic activities last year.

To prevent an economic crisis occasioned by COVID-19 from spilling into a financial crisis, Emefiele said the CBN worked to protect the interest of depositors by ensuring that banks made adequate capital provisions to cover unexpected losses.

“We also enabled banks to restructure loans granted to individuals and businesses significantly affected by the pandemic. Our banks also demonstrated exceptional resilience by putting in place business continuity plans, along with the deployment of digital channels, which ensured that the provision of financial services to customers was not disrupted by the COVID-19 pandemic.”

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