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FG Seeks Asset Manager for N15tn Infraco Fund


Godwin EmefieleThe federal government plans to hire an asset manager for its new Infrastructure Development Company (Infraco), designed to raise as much as N15 trillion ($36.7 billion) for infrastructural projects and to accelerate growth.

President Muhammadu Buhari about a fortnight ago, had approved the establishment of the Infraco, a Public-Private Partnership-styled infrastructure company with an initial seed capital of N1 trillion, to tackle Nigeria’s growing infrastructure deficit.

A report yesterday by Bloomberg quoted a source as saying that the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) and its funding partners, the Africa Finance Corporation (AFC) and Nigeria Sovereign Investment Authority (NSIA), are seeking proposals from companies to independently manage the infrastructure company’s capital-raising plan.

The Infraco will help fund projects from roads to railways and power plants.
The fund manager will be responsible for coordinating the total equity capital and associated debt raise required by the company, according to the source.

Asset managers seeking the role must have been active in infrastructure financing.
“We need to be innovative in our approach to developing our infrastructure in Nigeria,” CBN Governor, Mr. Godwin Emefiele, said in a text message sent by an official from the institution. “We believe that Infraco will be a major game-changer in this regard.”

Already, PricewaterhouseCoopers, Boston Consulting Group, McKinsey and KPMG have expressed interest in being transaction advisers in the deal, according to the source.

Ukiri Lijadu and Co. and Kenna Partners have been appointed legal advisers, the source said.
PricewaterhouseCoopers and KPMG didn’t immediately answer calls seeking comment on Wednesday, while calls to Ukiri Lijadu and McKinsey didn’t connect. Representatives at Kenna Partners and BCG couldn’t comment straight away when called.

Nigeria plans to boost infrastructure investments to stimulate economic growth after exiting its second recession in four years in the fourth quarter.

The nation needs at least $3 trillion over 30 years to close its infrastructure deficit, Moody’s Investors Service said in a November report.
Already, Vice President Yemi Osinbajo has been saddled with the responsibility of heading a steering committee to facilitate the take-off of the company.

Osinbajo’s media assistant, Mr. Laolu Akande, had said in a statement at the time that Infraco would grow to N15 trillion in assets and capital and that it would be one of the premier infrastructure finance entities in Africa to be wholly dedicated to Nigeria’s infrastructure development.
According to him, the initial seed capital for the entity will come from the CBN, the NSIA and the AFC.

Akande had stated: “The board of Infra-Co will be chaired by the central bank governor and include the Managing Director of the Nigerian Sovereign Investment Authority, President of the Africa Finance Corporation, as well as representatives of the Nigeria Governors’ Forum, and the Ministry of Finance, Budget and National Planning. The board will also have three independent directors from the private sector.

“To address Nigeria’s infrastructure deficit, the Buhari administration continues to explore innovative options, including through financing initiatives such as the Presidential Infrastructure Development Fund (PIDF), designed to cater for the second Niger Bridge, the Abuja-Kaduna-Zaria-Kano Expressway, and other projects.

“There is also the Road Infrastructure Development and Refurbishment Investment Tax Credit Scheme which is being used for the funding of the Bodo-Bonny bridges and road (with the Nigeria Liquefied Natural Gas, NLNG), and the Apapa-Oshodi-Oworonshoki Expressway (with Dangote Group), among others.

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