September 26 (THEWILL) – Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) Governor Godwin Emefiele revealed that the country’s infrastructure needs to improve by at least 5-7% to boost productivity and growth sustainable business.
Mr. Emefiele, who was represented by Apex Bank’s Corporate Communications Director Mr. Osita Nwasinobi, made the disclosure while delivering the keynote speech at the Finance Correspondents Association 30th Anniversary Conference and Awards of Nigeria (FICAN) which had the theme: “Financing Infrastructure and SMEs for Inclusive Growth in the Post-COVID-19 Economy”, held in Lagos on Saturday.
He explained that despite being a sector of the economy that has been a major engine of growth, innovation and job creation, the potential of micro, small and medium enterprises (MSMEs) to stimulate the growth and job creation has been hampered by the lack of access to quality services. Infrastructure.
The governor of the CBN noted that although the countries of sub-Saharan Africa spent around 6-12% of their GDP per year on infrastructure, Nigeria is expected to need an investment of $ 100 billion to close its deficit. ‘infrastructure every year for the next 30 years, which is currently estimated at around 1.2% of its gross domestic product (GDP).
“Beyond infrastructure, access to finance remains one of the greatest threats to the development of MSMEs in developed and developing economies, with serious implications for productivity, economic development and job creation. “, he added.
Mr Emefiele asserted: “The MSME financing gap in Nigeria is estimated at around 617.3 billion naira per year before the Covid-19 pandemic, as less than 5% of these companies have access to adequate financing for support their working capital and the expansion of their business. needs (PwC). Other constraints to MSME development in Nigeria, as noted in the survey, included difficulty in finding clients, an infrastructure deficit, insufficient cash flow, multiple taxes, regulatory burden and implementation sub-optimal MSME policy provisions.
At the same time, he revealed that the apex bank has put in place several policy measures to boost economic growth and reduce the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on Nigerians and that its response efforts accounted for around 3.5% of the GDP.
He reiterated that the CBN remained committed to fulfilling its development mandate by collaborating with stakeholders across the infrastructure and MSME segments to boost domestic production.
“There is an urgent need for tax authorities to work with the Central Bank of Nigeria to change the lenses through which they look at MSMEs and infrastructure development, by crafting innovative policy measures to unleash the potential of these companies to spur innovation. and industrialization. Ladies and Gentlemen, without adequate infrastructure, the Nigerian economy cannot overcome its structural challenges and achieve growth, as well as development, ”said the Governor of the CBN.
Meanwhile, the Managing Director / CEO of Heritage Bank, Mr. Ifie Sekibo, who was represented by Olusegun Akanji, Division Manager, Strategy and Business Solutions, argued that the government cannot solve the infrastructure problems of the country, noting that it is the private sector that will deliver the solution.
The government can only propose enabling policies that will support private sector interventions. We need global private sector intervention to help us realize an infrastructure development vision, ”he said.
Mr. Ifie noted that until the country develops an identity management system that delivers value to citizens, SMEs will continue to face funding challenges.
He explained that although the banking sector has funded many SMEs in terms of numbers, it is the sector that has the highest number of bad debts and frauds in terms of numbers.
Mr. Bola Koko, Managing Director of FMDQ Group, represented by Yomi Osinubi, Head of Private Market, urged Nigeria to design a way in which its domestic capital market could finance the international capital market.
This was, he said, the only way to get the infrastructure rewards.
“If we are to take advantage of our infrastructure, we must first design a way in which our domestic capital market can actually finance the capital market.
“But investors in the international debt and debt capital market, money will enter an environment where capital is expected and good management of these resources and cash flow will return to it.
“So I think there may be the problem of an underlying structure where we want to invest capital like paying the road infrastructure tax.
“If you want SMEs to get the most out of infrastructure development in the country, the Governor of CBN mentioned the biggest area of course for SMEs which is energy. The second most important is logistics, the movement of goods across the country, ”he said.
Mr. Temidayo Obisan, executive commissioner representing the managing director of the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) indicated that the nation has connected the right duration of money which he believes would be long term. “The main thing to identify is that infrastructure is a long term thing, so it is essential that we connect the right duration of money which is long term capital which is what the capital market provides and which should be the regulator.
“We have about three surviving infrastructure funds in Nigeria which now total almost $ 100 billion, about $ 90 billion itch at the moment and some are registered $ 200 billion programs,” he said.
More so, FICAN President Titus Chima Nwokoji said that if Nigeria’s infrastructure deficit, estimated at N36 trillion per year, was closed, many of the country’s economic challenges would be easily addressed.
“And coming out of the COVID-19 pandemic, we know that if the infrastructure is repaired and SMEs thrive, the growth you see will be faster,” he added.