Nigerian banks can’t fund electricity’s $8bn/yr needs — FBN

Electricity15 October 2013, Lagos –FBN Capital Limited has declared that Nigerian banks cannot fund the $8 billion yearly power needs alone and thus called for the support of institutional and foreign investors to fund the huge resources needed to drive various ongoing infrastructure projects, for the next 10 years.

Patrick Mgbenwelu, Director and Head, Project and Structured Finance, FBN Capital Limited said this at the 1st FBN Capital Project and Infrastructure Finance Conference which held in Lagos. According to him, specifically considering the nation’s power projects alone, about $8- $12 billion would be needed yearly for the next 10 years, to meet up with the large deficit of power demand and supply in the nation, which the banks alone would not be able to fund.

“This funding cannot come from the banks alone” he said. “There is the need for institutional investors and foreign investment to bridge the funding gap” he noted, adding that Greenfield IPPs will emerge to bridge the energy gap, while Government’s Private Public Partnership, PPP commitment will fuel various infrastructure projects such as rails, roads, bridges, and airports among others.

Participants at the event were unanimous in the position that although Nigeria’s vast natural resources and growing power and infrastructure demands has rightly garnered substantial interest from lenders and developers from across the globe, there remain challenges in ensuring the country’s huge potential is realised.

Mgbenwelu said multi-billion dollar government projects will require private sector involvement, therefore creating the need for Special Purpose Vehicles (SPVs) as obligator financial vehicles.
Highlighting the importance of infrastructure finance, he said investors can choose to approach finance institutions and seek funds either as a corporate entity or directly through the projects, (Corporate Finance route or Project Finance).

According to him, project finance as an option for accessing funds is an avenue for managing risk, instead of bearing them directly as a corporate organisation. “Additional expansion funding can be raised with ease, subject to the project achieving steady state.
*Peter Egwuatu, Vanguard

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