Godwin Emefiele, Governor of the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN), on Saturday in Lagos urged the Federal Government to partner with the apex bank to develop innovative policy measures that would unlock the potential of the nation’s Micro, Medium, and Small-scale Enterprises (MSMEs) to drive innovation and industrialization.
To do this, he said the government must first change the lenses through which they look at MSMEs and infrastructure development, noting that “without adequate infrastructure, the Nigerian economy cannot overcome its structural challenges and achieve growth, as well as development.”
Emefiele, who delivered a keynote speech at the 2021 annual conference and 30th-anniversary celebration of the Finance Correspondents Association of Nigeria (FICAN), expressed commitment to fulfilling the CBN’s developmental mandate by collaborating with stakeholders across infrastructure and MSME segments to boost domestic output.
Represented by Osita Nwasinobi, director, Corporate Commissions at the CBN, the governor highlighted efforts by the apex bank to address constraints limiting the growth and development in the country, which he admitted, “are just a drop in the ocean.”
This, he stressed, is because “the US$100bn annual investment required for infrastructure development cannot be solely financed by the CBN.
“Bearing the importance of quality infrastructure to economic growth, the fiscal authorities and private sector have roles in the ecosystem, with innovative financing options explored. The Sukuk bond market has provided a substitute for the traditional interest-based financing options and has been used to finance critical infrastructural projects across the country.”
He also noted the role of Public and Private Partnership (PPP) in the provision of “alternative to finance infrastructure projects, thereby easing budgetary constraints and improving operational efficiency by leveraging private sector’s expertise and robust financing options. “This PPP option is yet to be fully explored in Nigeria, despite its popularity in other emerging economies, particularly Brazil and India. The Brazilian Development Bank (BNDES) has supported industrialization and infrastructure development in Brazil by providing financing support mechanisms to public and private enterprises investing in enabling infrastructure projects; while in India, the Infrastructure Development Finance Company of India (IDFC) provides long-term funding to help finance PPP infrastructure projects” he stressed.