By Ashemiriogwa Emmanuel
The Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) has said it intends to establish a financial hub to be called the Nigerian International Financial Centre (NIFC) before the end of September 2022.
According to the Governor of the CBN, Mr Godwin Emefiele, the NIFC will serve as an international gateway for capital and investments, driven by technology and payment system infrastructure.
Speaking on Tuesday at the Chartered Institute of Bankers of Nigeria (CIBN) 14th annual banking and finance conference, the CBN chief noted that the centre would be backed by some existing laws.
He noted that the idea is to attract foreign investments into the country, which should support the economic development plans of the federal government.
“[The] central bank will in the next 12 months be establishing the Nigerian International Financial Centre (NIFC). The NIFC will act as an international gateway for capital and investments, driven by technology and payment system infrastructure,” Mr Emefiele said at the event, which also had President Muhammadu Buhari in attendance virtually.
Speaking further, the central banker stated that, “The NIFC will take advantage of our existing laws such as the Bank and Other Financial Institutions Act (BOFIA 2020), Nigerian Export Processing Zone Authority (NEPZA), and other CBN regulations to create a fully global investment and a financial hub where monies, ideas, and technology will move freely without hindrance.”
The CBN boss further disclosed that when executed next year, the infrastructure will be operational round the clock as it will complement London, New York, and Singapore financial hubs.
According to him, this will propel Infracorp Plc, a N15 trillion infrastructure fund, to be formed in October 2021.
He also said the new financial hub, when operational, would bring together local and foreign banks to create global champions.
The CIBN conference also had in attendance the President of Rwanda, Mr Paul Kagame, as well as other dignataries.