From Uche Usim, Abuja
The Director General Bureau of Public Enterprises (BPE), Mr Alex Okoh, on Tuesday revealed that plans were afoot to ramp up export earnings from planned concession of two of the Federal Government’s Free Trade Zones located in Calabar and Kano to $3 billion in seven years.
The concession is also expected to generate annual savings of about N5 billion for the federal treasury.
He made the disclosure in Abuja at a webinar organised to showcase some of the investment opportunities in Nigeria’s economic reform and privatisation programme under the purview of the bureau.
According to him, the impact of this would be to unlock significant resources for the government to invest in other critical infrastructure as well as other key sectors of the economy, creating job opportunities in the process.
He noted that over the years, the Bureau has reformed over 234 state owned enterprises and assets cutting across various sectors of the economy including banking, insurance, oil and gas, seaports and power.
Okoh said that the collaborative efforts between the Bureau and the Nigerian Investment Promotion Commission, and the Nigerian Exchange Group, in organising the event was a demonstration of the collective resolve to deepen the investment opportunities available in Nigeria, particularly in the wake of the devastating impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on the economy.
Earlier in his remarks at the event, the Governor, Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN), Mr Godwin Emefiele stated that with the current funding constraints of the federal government, leveraging funds from the private sector along with their ability to provide operational and technological know-how, in improving productivity of critical but moribund assets of the federal government remains essential.
He added that the investments by the private sector in energy, road and rail assets, can significantly reduce the cost of doing business for households and businesses, whilst supporting increased investment and productivity of our economy.
“Some analysts estimate that over N350 trillion is needed to support infrastructure investment in Nigeria over the next 10 years; If these investments are made, Nigeria is likely to attain GDP growth rates of over 10 percent annually. Given the revenue position of the government, it will be difficult to support these investments using government revenue.
“Harnessing available funds from the private sector is therefore vital if we are to meet our infrastructure funding objectives.
“The CBN with key stakeholders such as the Africa Finance Corporation and the Nigeria Sovereign Investment Authority (NSIA) secured the support of Mr. President in setting up InfraCorp, which is an entity that will seek to raise private sector capital to support investments in key infrastructure in Nigeria.
“Infracorp has generated a lot of interest from both local and international private sector fund managers who are keen to work with the promoters of Infracorp in deploying private sector capital to support investment in key infrastructure in Nigeria. Work is ongoing on the selection of the fund managers. Following conclusion of this and other activities, Infracorp is expected to begin full operations by the 4th quarter of 2021.
“We believe that through partnership with the private sector, Infracorp will be able to leverage close to N15 trillion over the coming years, which would help to close the gap on our infrastructure funding needs and would help to catalyze growth in other key sectors of our economy”, he explained.