The Bankers Committee of the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) on Tuesday hinted that the Federal Government has opened talks with it on funding of four major roads across the country in a bid to reducing the nation’s infrastructural deficit.
This is even as the members of the committee disclosed that plans were also being made to increase the Nigeria Incentive-Based Risk Sharing System for Agricultural Lending (NIRSAL) fund with an additional N2.5 billion.
Speaking on the proposed financing at the end of the first meeting of the committee held in Lagos, the CBN Director Banking Supervision, Mr. Hassan Bello, said government has also invited the committee to explore the Public Private Partnership (PPP) option in bridging the infrastructure gap.
Bello explained it is based on the discussions that the committee is considering the best options to finance the four major roads.
He explained: “On the structure of the financing, the offer was just made by government and the bankers just discussed it and it is too early in the day to discuss how this structure is going to be. The committee has already set up a small subcommittee to look at the modalities and also engage the government so as to know the way forward.”
Commenting on the parley with the Federal Government and the expected roles of banks, the Managing Director FSDH Merchant Bank, Mrs. Hamda Ambah, said that members agreed that government alone cannot provide all the infrastructure in the country and that the private sector have to play a major role in fixing the infrastructure gap.
“With that in mind, what was agreed was that we create a small committee among the CEOs to work with the CBN to identify those roads where we would like to participate and come up with a framework which we would share with government and once we have an agreement, we would be able to forge ahead”, she said.
On the NIRSAL fund issue, the Managing Director Jaiz Bank, Mr. Hassan Usman “the bankers committee is looking in many ways to support government and the society whether it is increasing the level of credit to the private sector and real sector of the economy or working with NIRSAL and other banks to increase financial Inclusion or specifically intervening in infrastructure.
“These are steps being taken to ensure that government is supported is drive to grow this economy, reduce unemployment and also improve the security of the nation”, the banker said.
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