According Mr. Osinbajo, the plan of the Federal Government to raise a $25 billion Infrastructural Fund from the global community and establish long term bankable projects is gaining traction.
Note: Construction of Abuja-Kaduna Standard gauge rail line was also funded by the China Exim Bank at a cost of US$500m.
The Vice President told the delegation of the Lagos Chamber of Commerce and Industry, who paid him a courtesy visit in his office on Tuesday;
“We have seen considerable, favorable interests from some sovereign wealth funds and other nations.”
Mr. Osinbajo explained the idea of fund to the delegation, saying the Nigeria Sovereign Investment Authority which manages the country’s sovereign wealth fund is leading the railway project.
He added that the Infrastructural Fund would create opportunity for commercial partners to participate in the building of the nation’s infrastructures alongside federal government.
“This would be done through the establishment of bankable projects that involves such commercial partners,” he said.
He disclosed that the China-Exim Bank has agreed to finance the railway projects linking Lagos to Kano and Lagos to Calabar. According to him;
“We expect these will generate some economic activities and create jobs.”
The Vice President expressed the Federal Government’s determination to raise revenue internally to fund the budget, including through an expansion of VAT coverage but not an increase of the VAT rate.
“At 20% of the VAT coverage now, the federal government intends to do much better giving a boost to the country’s tax revenues,” he said.
The delegation of the Lagos Chamber of Commerce and Industry, led by Nike Akande, declared the support of the chamber for the federal government’s fight against corruption and acknowledged that in the current economic situation that the Buhari presidency is having to deal with “there are no easy choices.”
Mrs. Akande, a former minister for Industry, called on the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) to find a foreign exchange regime that would boost the confidence of investors and remove uncertainly.
The Vice President told the delegation that the Federal Government was focused on finding solutions to the economic situation, including through a focus on building infrastructure and also diversifying the economy, especially through agriculture. Besides, the government is also focusing on creating an enabling environment for business and investments in the country.
Mr. Osinbajo also received a delegation from the Association of Licensed Telecoms Operators of Nigeria, ALTON. He noted that the telecom sector is one of the sectors in the economy that has created a significant impact and reiterated federal government’s resolve to develop critical infrastructure in the country including in the power sector which was an area of concern expressed by the operators at the meeting.