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Newsbreak: Renewed hope fund targets N20trn, to address Lagos-Calabar, Badagry-Sokoto super highways, South East rail, others

By Ologeh Joseph Chibu

The Federal Government newly floated resource code-name Renewed Hope Infrastructure Development Fund, (RHIDF) is to raise no fewer than N20trn, the central Government said on Tuesday.

The new intiative involves Nigeria raising $35 billion yearly, up till 2040, to meet infrastructure needs.

In a statement signed by the Special Adviser (Media), Mr Bayo Onanuga and made available to Irohinoodua said the project was unanimously approved on Monday 25 March by the Federal Executive Council.

He said it is a game-changing, innovative and transformative Fund that will drive economic growth in road, rail construction, agriculture, aviation, education, health, energy and technology.

Among the projects being targeted are major road networks, such as the Lagos-Calabar Coastal highway, Sokoto-Badagry Expressway, Lagos-Kano and Eastern Rail Lines. Ports and aviation facilities will be modernised .

The Fund will cast its net for investment capital wider than the PIDF initiated by former President Mohammad Buhari.

It targets Pension Funds, Concessionary Loans, Insurance companies, sovereign wealth funds, private sector arms of multilateral development institutions, bilateral private sector investors.

The RHIDF is similar to the Presidential Infrastructure Development Fund (PIDF), with National Sovereign Wealth Authority, playing a vital role.

The PIDF helped in the realisation of critical projects, such as the Second Niger Bridge and the Lagos-Ibadan Expressway.

But the PIDF faced funding constraints, delays in project execution, leading to rising costs of materials, bureaucratic and institutional challenges.

President Bola Ahmed Tinubu is said to believe that Renewed Hope Infrastructure Development Fund (RHIDF) will overcome the challenges of its predecessor.

Onanuga said “It will provide the elixir for critical national projects that will accelerate infrastructure and economic development in all parts of the country,”Onanuga said.

With the projection of N20 Trillion, about $14 billion take-off capital, the Fund will support projects that will promote growth, enhance local value-addition through backward, forward and parallel linkages.

The fund will also provide employment opportunities while boosting exports.

A core focus of the Fund will be to enhance agricultural value chain to boost food security, according to the Government.

It noted that by fortifying agricultural infrastructure, the Fund will ensure that post-harvest losses are reduced and food supply chains strengthened.

Other financing sources are individual investors, including the Diaspora Nigerians, endowments and equity funds.

At the Federal Executive Council meeting on Monday, where the Fund was first tabled before members prior to its approval, President Bola Tinubu explained the rationale for its conception.

He said the Fund, which will be managed by a Director-General, will be domiciled in the Presidency. It will cut through bureaucratic bottlenecks that usually delay implementation of good projects.

President Tinubu cited the Lagos Metropolitan Area Transport Authority (LAMATA), which he conceived during his tenure as Lagos governor in 2004, and how the agency midwifed two rail lines and executed some of the important road networks in the metropolis.

Many members of the Council applauded the initiative after it was presented by the Chairman of the Federal Inland Revenue Service (FIRS), Zacch Adedeji.

President Tinubu is desirous of bequeathing a legacy of socially and economically impactful policies, such as student loans, social security for the unemployed and consumer credit.

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