If you have been reading me, you might have noticed that I do not typically criticize former military junta, Ibrahim Babangida (IBB), on infrastructure development. Of course, he had his demons, but when it comes to infrastructure, IBB was light years ahead of his peers.
He built Abuja. He built the 3rd Mainland Bridge. Some of those great structures in Abuja happened under his watch. Then, the new generation banks took off under his time. The first wave of tech happened under him. Of course, IBB’s demons were so much that despite those sparks, it may be hard to forgive him for running down Nigerian Railways, SAPing Nigeria with his Structural Adjustment Program, and unleashing the biggest – making corruption a way of life in the public sector!
But if you can keep those away, we can learn many things from IBB. Today, we are learning that the Federal Government has approved a quasi banking institution for infrastructure development in Nigeria. Yes, Nigeria will float an Infrastructure Development Company which will leverage local and international funds to rebuild Nigerian critical infrastructure. About N15 trillion is projected over 5 years for the kickstarting of the Company.
The Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) is to establish an Infrastructure Development Company, its governor, Godwin Emefiele, disclosed on Monday in Abuja.
Mr Emefiele, who spoke during the online media briefing at the end of the 274th meeting of the Monetary Policy Committee MPC) said the company would leverage on local and international funds to rebuild critical infrastructure across the country.
Mr Emefiele said the Federal Government has already given approval for the establishment of the special purpose company, which would be wholly focused on Nigeria and Nigerians alone.
The company, he said, would be co-owned by the CBN, the Africa Finance Corporation (AFC) and the Nigeria Sovereign Investment Authority (NSIA).
However, the management of the company would be exclusively run by an Independent Infrastructure Fund Manager (IIFM).
The fund manager would mobilise local and foreign capital to support the Federal Government in building the transport infrastructure required to move agriculture and other products to processors, raw materials to factories, and finished goods to markets.
The CBN governor said about N15 trillion is projected over 5 years for the initial running of the company, adding that the MPC expressed satisfaction with the work on the updates and timelines for the establishment of the company.
That brings me back to IBB: how was he able to get those done even when oil revenue was low compared to what we have earned since 1999? Do the math: he did not fund an expensive democracy, from the national budget. Nigeria does not need Bank of Industry, Bank of Agriculture, IDC, etc to develop. Those are simply multiplying bureaucracy. What we need is to cut the size of government and that includes our democratic framework and public sector. If we do just that, we will have more money to invest in our infrastructure.