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Why intervention funds don’t work – Mustapha Chike-Obi

Mustapha Chike-Obi.
Mustapha Chike-Obi.

A former Managing Director of Asset Management Corporation of Nigeria (AMCON), Mustapha Chike-Obi, has said the intervention funds meant to boost access to finance isn’t as efficient as reducing interest rates.

Chike-Obi, who’s the current Executive Vice Chairman of Alpha African Advisory, made the remark at the monthly capacity building forum of the Finance Correspondents Association of Nigeria (FICAN), in Lagos on Monday.

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Chike-Obi said: “All these intervention funds, they don’t work. And let me tell you why they don’t work. If you give a man in agriculture an interest rate at 5%, you think you are helping him but everything around him is at 26%. So, he gets a little bit of relief on his financing, but he doesn’t get reliefs on his supplies, diesel, food, employees, so at the end of the day, those things he gets at 26% invades his 5%,”

Delivering a lecture titled: “Repositioning the Nigerian Economy for Sustainable Growth” Chike-Obi said the intervention funds also don’t work because “the default rates are as high as default rates of non-intervention funds. So, they don’t work. They are not very efficient”.

According to him, what the economic managers need to do instead is to provide capital at a reasonable interest rates that work for everyone.

He said: “There must be access to capital at a reasonable price. With 26% interest rate, you cannot do a business successfully. So, we must find a way to provide interest rate to everybody at a reasonable rate.

“We must have an interest rate that will support our economy. And it cannot be much higher to the borrower at 12 to 15%. Every Nigerian should be able to borrow money at between 12 to 15%, so, we must have capital available.”

Speaking further, he said it was about time Nigeria created ministries of infrastructure and revenue generation, with smart Nigerians heading those ministries to get the economy moving on the right path.

“We need policies and the way to get policies is to get everyone in the room. We have a man in Nigeria, his name is Bayo Ogunlesi. He runs Global Infrastructure Partners. He owns Gatwick and he owns a pipeline in Italy, and he is there building infrastructure all over the world. Why can’t we get Bayo Ogunlesi to come and be minister of infrastructure?” he asked.

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