The Importance of Funding Nigeria's Infrastructure Deficit with the Naira

Feranmi Olaseinde

Hatched by Feranmi Olaseinde

Nov 10, 2023

3 min read


The Importance of Funding Nigeria's Infrastructure Deficit with the Naira


Nigeria's infrastructure deficit is a pressing issue that requires immediate attention. In order to address this problem effectively, it is crucial to consider funding it with the local currency, the Naira. This approach will enable the country to avoid the volatility of exchange rates while also mitigating the risks associated with borrowing in foreign currency.

Off-Balance Sheet Financing: A Tool for Managing Debt:

Off-balance sheet financing (OBSF) is a financial practice that allows companies to record assets or liabilities in a way that does not appear on their balance sheet. This practice is commonly used to keep debt-to-equity and leverage ratios low, especially when including significant expenditures could breach negative debt covenants. OBSF is legal as long as it adheres to accounting rules and regulations, but it becomes illegal when used to hide assets or liabilities from investors and regulators.

Managing Leverage Ratios:

Companies with substantial debt often employ OBSF to ensure that their leverage ratios do not breach agreements with lenders. Higher debt levels increase the risk of default, leading to higher interest rates. By omitting certain capital expenditures or assets from the balance sheet, companies can shift ownership to other entities such as partners or subsidiaries, effectively securing a minority claim. This can be achieved through joint ventures, research and development partnerships, operating leases, or the use of special purpose vehicles (SPVs).

Adhering to Accounting Principles:

It is important to note that OBSF, when employed within the boundaries of established accounting rules, is a legitimate and legal practice. In the United States, companies are required to follow generally accepted accounting principles (GAAP) to ensure transparency and accuracy in financial reporting. By complying with these regulations, companies can effectively manage their leverage ratios without engaging in fraudulent activities.

The Nigerian Context:

Applying OBSF principles to Nigeria's infrastructure deficit can offer a viable solution. By utilizing the Naira to fund these projects, the country can avoid the risks associated with borrowing in foreign currency. This approach will help maintain stability in the exchange rate and prevent additional financial strain on the government.

Actionable Advice:

  • 1. Strengthen Local Financial Institutions: To support funding infrastructure projects with the Naira, it is crucial to strengthen local financial institutions. By enhancing their capacity and capabilities, these institutions can effectively manage the financing process and facilitate sustainable development.
  • 2. Promote Public-Private Partnerships (PPPs): Encouraging partnerships between the public and private sectors can provide a significant boost to infrastructure funding. PPPs can leverage the expertise and resources of both parties, ensuring efficient project execution and long-term sustainability.
  • 3. Prioritize Transparency and Accountability: In order to gain public trust and attract investors, it is essential to prioritize transparency and accountability in infrastructure funding. Implementing robust monitoring and evaluation systems, as well as engaging in regular audits, will help ensure that funds are utilized effectively and efficiently.


Funding Nigeria's infrastructure deficit with the Naira is a prudent approach that can effectively address the country's pressing needs. By leveraging OBSF principles and adhering to accounting regulations, Nigeria can manage its leverage ratios while avoiding the volatility of foreign exchange rates. Strengthening local financial institutions, promoting PPPs, and prioritizing transparency and accountability are vital steps towards successfully funding and developing Nigeria's infrastructure. With careful planning and strategic implementation, Nigeria can overcome its infrastructure deficit and pave the way for sustainable growth and prosperity.

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