The Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) has said it would soon establish the Nigerian International Financial Centre (NIFC) to serve as a gateway for capital and investments for Nigeria.
The centre will be driven by technology and payment system infrastructure.
CBN Governor Godwin Emefiele disclosed this at the ongoing 14th annual conference of the CIBN bling and finance conference in Abuja. The central bank wants to create a fully global investment and financial hub where money, ideas and technology can travel unhindered.
“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,” Emefiele said.
He also disclosed that the nation’s digital payment system has become robust and continued to evolve towards meeting the needs of households and businesses in Nigeria.
He said reflective of the confidence in Nigeria’s payment system, between 2015 and 2020, close to $500m worth of funds have been invested in firms run by Nigerian founders.
Notwithstanding these gains, the CBN Governor said close to 36 per cent of adult Nigerians do not have access to financial services. Improving access to finance for individuals and businesses through digital channels can help to improve financial inclusion, lower the cost of transactions, and increase the flow of credit to businesses.
The new financial hub, he said, will curate local and international banks to make them global champions.
According to Emefiele, the NIFC will be a 24/7 financial centre that will complement London, New York and Singapore financial centers and enable an acceleration of Nigeria’s home grown initiatives such as the Infracorp plc, the N15 trillion infrastructure fund which we will be launching in October 2021.
He said the NIFC will also complement other CBN initiatives on the Nigerian Commodity exchange and the National Theatre creative hubs for Nigerian youths as well as the e-naira project which he said will also debut in October 2021.
“The NIFC will take advantage of our existing laws such as the BOFIA 2020, NEPZA and other CBN regulations to create a fully global investment and financial hub where monies, ideas, and technology will move freely without hindrance,” Emefiele said.
He sought the support of government in fostering greater inclusion using digital channels, supporting cross-border payments for businesses.
Emefiele said with continued improvements in the economy, “I am optimistic that by the end of the year, our economy will not only close the ouput gap brought about by the 2020 recession, but that we would end the year with an annual GDP growth of between 2.5 – 3.0 percent, up from -1.92 per cent in 2020.”