The Federal Government of Nigeria is considering launching a $25 billion infrastructure fund to bridge the gap between government revenue and financing requirements for much-needed infrastructure.
Minister of Finance, Mrs. Kemi Adeosun, disclosed this in Lagos during the inauguration of the Capital Market Master Plan Implementation Council (CAMMIC), National Investor Protection Fund (NIPF), and the launch of the Corporate Governance Scorecard for quoted companies by the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC).
Adeosun said that government was considering setting up the $25 billion fund because of the current environment of significant revenue squeeze and other budgetary constraints, which make government’s funding inadequate for the infrastructure investments.
“We believe this is where the capital market can really make itself relevant by stepping in to close the funding gap. Government is already looking to set up a $25 billion fund wholly dedicated to infrastructure investments. A crucial assignment we have for the capital market community is to come up with other innovative ways of mobilizing the capital needed to address Nigeria’s infrastructure challenge,” Adeosun said.
The minister, represented by the Permanent Secretary, Ministry of Finance, Dr. Mahmoud Isa-Dutse, said that efficient and vibrant capital markets were an indispensable feature of any modern economy supplying affordable medium-to-long term capital needed for growth as they facilitate mobilization of savings, accelerate capital formation, provide investment avenues and enhance efficient allocation of capital to growth sectors as no country has been able to develop without a thriving capital market.
She expressed worry that currently less than three per cent of Nigerians invest in the capital market and even more worrisome, only 0.2 per cent of Nigerians invest in mutual funds.
She assured that as the minister in charge of supervising the capital market, she would support the SEC to ensure that the project is successful and where necessary is willing to add the weight of her voice to facilitate achievement of key initiatives within the Master Plan.
Adeosun advised Nigerians to aspire to a level where retail investors invest majorly in collective investment schemes managed by fund managers, who along with pension funds, insurance companies and banks are better at monitoring the governance landscape as she said, “this will lead to better fund safety and will enhance investor-protection in the long run.”