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Economy

FG begins sale of N150bn sovereign Sukuk at 11.2%

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The Federal Government on Thursday began the sale of its third tranche 7-year N150 billion Sovereign Sukuk, the Debt Management Office (DMO) said.

The offer circular, which was obtained from its website, said the seven year Islamic Sukuk, referred to as Ijarah, was at a rental rate of 11.2 per cent and would be due in June 2027.

The bond, which was aimed at funding key road infrastructure across the six geo-political zones, was payable semi-annually.

Subscription for the bond,  guaranteed by the government, would close on June 2.

The circular said subscribers could purchase N1,000 per unit subject to a minimum subscription of N10,000 and in multiples of N1,000 thereafter with First Bank and Islamic wealth manager, Lotus Capital managing the sale.

The DMO said it qualified as securities in which trustees could invest under the Trustee Investment Act and as government securities within the meaning of Company Income Tax Act (“CITA”) and Personal Income Tax Act (“PITA”) for Tax Exemption for Pension Funds, amongst other investors.

It would also be listed on the Nigerian Stock Exchange (NSE) and on FMDQ Over-The-Counter (OTC) platform and be classified as liquid asset by the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN).

It is also certified by the Financial Regulatory Advisory Council of Experts (FRACE) of the CBN, the circular said.

The News Agency of Nigeria recalls that the Federal Government had in 2017 raised a N100 billion seven-year debut Sukuk bond for the financing of 25 road projects across the six geopolitical zones of the country.

It raised another N100 billion in 2018 for a seven-year period for the same purpose, making it N200 billion raised so far for the Sukuk bonds.

Edited By: Chioma Ugboma/Wale Ojetimi (NAN)

 

Folasade Folarin: is a graduate and a professionally trained journalist, with experience in national news reporting/editing and verification at the News Agency of Nigeria. NNN is a Nigerian online news portal that publishes breaking news in Nigeria, and across the world. Our journalists are honest, fair, accurate, thorough and courageous in gathering, reporting and interpreting news in the best interest of the public, because truth is the cornerstone of journalism and they strive diligently to ascertain the truth in every news report. Contact: editor[at]nnn.com.ng

Economy

Iran to issue Sukuk securities to fund oil, gas projects

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Iran plans to issue Sukuk securities worth up to $217 million to fund oil and natural gas projects, state-run energy news service, SHANA, reported on Saturday.

Vice President Eshaq Jahangiri signed off on a decision, authorised under the annual state budget.

The authorisation allows the oil, energy and industry ministries to issue the Sukuk.

Sukuk is an Islamic sharia-compliant bond, worth up to 35 trillion rials ($217 million at the free market exchange rate) for gas and oil projects, it said.

AIB

Edited By: Abdulfatah Babatunde (NAN)

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General news

Niger Assembly grants Gov. Bello approval for N25bn Sukuk bond

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The Niger House State of Assembly on Tuesday granted Gov. Abubakar Bello approval to access a N25billion Sukuk bond.

The lawmakers had asked the governor to provide the duration of the repayment plan and sought more information regarding some of the road projects to be embarked upon.

In a response to their request through a letter read on the floor of the House by the Speaker, Alhaji Abdullahi Wuse, the governor noted that the tenure of the Sukuk bond was not more than seven years.

The governor also gave a breakdown of the locations of the RAMP roads totaling 235.19km as requested by the lawmakers.

The lawmakers thereafter unanimously gave the governor the green light to access the N25bn Sukuk bond through a voice vote without referring it to the relevant committee for further scrutiny as is the practice.

NAN reports that the governor had in a correspondence read at plenary on Jan. 16 explained that the government intends to take the bond because of its commitment to the objective of transforming the state.

“The government reviewed its capital intensive development projects and resolved in some high leveraged projects and high impactful visible projects.

“Thus, the government seeks to upgrade, construct and reconstruct some essential roads as well.

“The capital intensive projects which require long term funding will mostly be funded through a N25 bn infrastructure development Sukuk Bond programme

“The letter further stated that the bond would be issued in two tranches of N15 billion and N10 billion consecutively.” it added

NAN also reports that Bello had requested the 8th Assembly’s approval to take N21.5bn Sukuk bond but the request was denied due to what the legislators termed “hidden high costs”.

 

Edited by: Emmanuel Nwoye/Ekemini Ladejobi

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Road rehabilitation: Contractors urbe FG to sustain aSukuk fund

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Contractors handling the rehabilitation of the two sections of the Enugu-Port Harcourt Expressway have called on the Federal Government to sustain the Sukuk fund in order to ensure steady funding and timely completion of the project.

They made the call on Monday, when a delegation from the Fiscal Responsibility Commission (FRC) for the South East, led by a staff of the commission, Mr Alex Elikwu, visited the site “to verify the level of budgetary performance of the project.”

Elikwu said that the verification involved Sections I covering 59.2km (Lokpanta-Umuahia) and Section II, covering 59.1km (Umuahia-Aba), costing about N30 billion and N50 billion, respectively.

Mr Ali Omar, the Project Manager of Arab Contractors Nigeria Ltd., handling the Section II of the project, said that about 42 km of the 59.1 km road had been asphalted.

He said that the project would be ready in the next one-and-a half years, adding that the company had applied for a one-year extention to enable them to cover up for the lost time caused by the rain.

Omar, who was accompanied by the Supervising Consultant, Mr Edmond Ezi, expressed the hope that the tempo of work would increase now that the rain had subsided.

He attributed the success so far recorded on the project to the regular release of funds through Sukuk, adding that with Sukuk, funding had never been an issue for them.

He, therefore, urged the federal government to continue to leverage Sukuk in order to ensure that the project did not suffer unnecessary delay due to poor funding, often associated with inadequate budgetary allocations and releases.

Also, the Area Manager of Setraco Nigeria Ltd., handling the Section I of the project, Mr Fouad Ghazal, said that 62 per cent of the road had been asphalted.

Ghazal promised that the job would be completed and delivered by March 2021, “if the N800 million outstanding is released.”

Nigeria News Agency reports that the FRC delegation also inspected the ongoing N940 million gully erosion control sub-contract at Nsukwe on the Umuahia end of the expressway.

The team further inspected the ongoing construction of a trailer park at the Lokpanta Cattle Market in Umunneochi Local Government Area of Abia.

The leader of the delegation told NAN that the team was in the South-East to verify the federal government’s projects, which were captured in the 2018/2019 Appropriation.

He said that he was impressed with the quality and extent of job so far executed on the two sections of the dual carriageway.

He expressed the confidence that the project could be completed in record time with regular and sustained funding.

He said: “I hope that with what is on ground at the moment, the contractors are doing a quality job.

“I also believe that they will complete the project as promised, if the Sukuk is sustained as they have requested.”

Elikwu also advised the contractors to carryout palliatives on some of the failed portions of the expressway because of the envisaged heavy traffic during the Christmas festivities.

He said that such a measure would help to alleviate the plight of motorists by making the dilapidated portions passable.

(Edited & Vetted By: Sam Oditah)
(NAN)

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Economy

Abu Dhabi’s Aldar markets $500m sukuk

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Aldar Investment Properties, a fully owned subsidiary of Abu Dhabi’s largest developer Aldar Properties on Tuesday began marketing a 10-year sukuk or Islamic bonds worth 500 million dollars, a document issued by one of the banks leading the deal showed.

However, Sukuk is the Arabic name for financial certificates, also commonly referred to as “sharia compliant” bonds.

Sukuk are defined by the AAOIFI as “securities of equal denomination representing individual ownership interests in a portfolio of eligible existing or future assets.”

The bonds offer an initial price guidance of around 260 basis points over mid-swaps, the document said.

Dubai Islamic Bank, First Abu Dhabi Bank, HSBC and Standard Chartered have been hired to coordinate the debt sale, which will be completed later on Tuesday. (Reuters/NAN)

AOM/SN

Edited by Abdullahi Mohammed/Silas Nwoha

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Economy

FG will float Sukuk Bond to finance infrastructure in 2019 – Oniha

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In a bid to address the infrastructure challenge bedevilling the country, the Debt Management Office (DMO) on Tuesday disclosed that the Federal Government would float over N100 billion third Sukuk Bond before the  end of 2019.

Ms Patience Oniha, DMO’s Director-General, stated this at inaugural edition of the Islamic Finance Network (IFN) Nigeria Forum organised by the Nigerian Stock Exchange (NSE) in partnership with REDMoney Group in Lagos.

Oniha said the government was perfecting arrangements to float over N100 billion Sukuk Bond for the financing of some infrastructure projects listed in the 2019 budget.

Sukuk are bonds structured to generate returns to ethical investors without infringing on the Islamic law, which forbids interest payments.

“It represents an ownership interest in the asset to be financed rather than a debt obligation.

“It will be this year 2019 by God’s grace because the budget has been approved.

“The projects would be those included in the budget and the borrowing will also be what has been approved in the budget, as part of new domestic borrowing. So, it will be this year,” Oniha said.

She said the government was eager to use borrowing to finance infrastructure, which was what the Sukuk represented.

On the specific amount to be raised, Oniha said the DMO had to issue an amount that the market could absorb.

“Once the advisers can give us an indication of an appetite about them, I have asked them if they can raise N200 billion for instance. It depends on what is on the table.

“We have to issue an amount that the market can absorb, that we are sure we can raise. Then the remaining we can do our regular FGN bond in the domestic market.

“So in summary, we are happy to do more than a N100 billion once we are sure there is demand at a price that compares with that of a similar FGN bond,” she said.

On the listing of the second N100 billion Sukuk Ijarah Bond on the NSE and FMDQ OTC Securities platforms, Oniha said it would be listed in July.

She said the bond floated in December was yet to be listed on the NSE and FMDQ OTC Securities platforms because of allotment and ground breaking issues.

The director-general said the DMO needed to ensure allotment to all successful parties as well as commencement of the infrastructure projects before applying for the listing of the bond.

“There are two conditions and I believe those two conditions have been met and we would list shortly.

“Once we agree, you know FGN securities are listed on two trading platforms, so once the other platform says we can list and trading will start without necessarily having an official ceremony we will do that.

“And I think we should be looking at July for the listing,” she added.

Also speaking, Mr Oscar Onyema, NSE’s Chief Executive Officer, said the the Islamic Finance sector had grown noticeably over the years, from about 1.5 trillion dollars in 2016, to about 2 trillion dollars in 2018.

Onyema, represented by Mr Jude Chiemeka, Divisional Head, Trading Business, NSE,  said the figure was driven by growth in Islamic Banking assets as well as growth in Sukuk issuances.

“This growth has largely been concentrated within Gulf Cooperation Council region and in Asia.

“However, recent data suggest that Islamic financing is beginning to take root in Africa, with issuers across Gambia, Sudan, Senegal, Ivory Coast, Togo as well as Nigeria, in more recent times,” Onyema said.

He noted that Islamic Finance represented a turning point and a new paradigm for the financing of infrastructure in Nigeria.

“In 2013, for example the Osun State Government issued an N11.4 billion, 7-year Sukuk instrument used to finance the construction and rehabilitation of 27 schools in the state,” he said.

Onyema, however, applauded the Federal Government, DMO, the Securities and Exchange Commission and National Pension Commission for showing unwavering commitment to the deepening and growth of Islamic Finance in Nigeria.

The News Agency of Nigeria reports that the conference had its theme as: “Harnessing the Islamic Finance Sector for Infrastructure Development and Economic  Growth.”

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Economy

Saudi Arabia to issue $3bn-$5bn in international sukuk by third quarter – DMO chief

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Saudi Arabia to issue $3bn-$5bn in international sukuk by third quarter – DMO chief

Sukuk is the Arabic name for financial certificates, also commonly referred to as “sharia compliant’’ bonds.

Sukuk is defined by Accounting and Auditing Organisation for Islamic Financial Institutions (AAOIFI) as “securities of equal denomination representing individual ownership interests in a portfolio of eligible existing or future assets”.

Islamic bonds is structured in such a way as to generate returns to investors without infringing Islamic law (that prohibits riba or interest).

 

Riyadh began issuing debt in international markets in 2016 after its finances were snagged by lower global oil prices.

It has since become one of the biggest emerging markets issuers, having sold nearly 60 billion dollars in international bonds, including 11 billion dollars in sukuk.

At the end of 2018, it also had more than 80 billion dollars in outstanding domestic debt, borrowed through conventional and Islamic bonds, which bypass a religious prohibition on interest.

Fahad al-Saif, who heads the kingdom’s debt management office (DMO), said in an interview that about 40 per cent of the 31.5 billion dollars in debt planned for this year had been issued in the first quarter.

“At the end of quarter one, we have reached 55 per cent local, 45 per cent international. We believe that the ratios will be more skewed towards the local (debt issues) by the end of this year…” he said late on Wednesday.

International sukuk are planned for the third quarter “subject to timing, pricing, market conditions and obviously demand and supply,” Saif added.

Saudi Arabia, the world’s top oil exporter and the largest Arab economy, issued its latest international bond in January, raising 7.5 billion dollars out of over 25 billion dollars in demand.

Many saw that deal, the kingdom’s first dollar issue since the murder of journalist Jamal Khashoggi last October, as a vote of market confidence after the killing in the Saudi consulate in Istanbul tarnished Riyadh’s reputation.

The Saudi finance minister said last week that Riyadh might issue euro-denominated bonds this year depending on market conditions and is considering debt in other currencies such as the yuan.

Saif told Reuters that the DMO was focused mostly on Saudi riyals, dollars and possibly euros.

“Certain markets that we are paying attention to at the moment, do we have them as strict plans? Not yet. Are we discussing them as part of our medium term debt strategy? Yes.”

The DMO is also considering in the medium term raising financing backed by foreign export credit agencies which offer loan guarantees and sometimes financing to encourage trade and lower the costs of international business.

But more than a year after requesting proposals from banks, the plans remain at an early stage.

“There is no strict timeline. We are in discussions. We are getting ourselves into the terminologies and the jargons of the ECA financing type.

“We are trying to match what is the right project versus the right financing to be tapped into…,” he said.

State oil giant, Saudi Aramco, received more than 100 billion dollars in orders last month for its debut bond – even after its prospectus said the kingdom would not guarantee the notes – but chose to sell only 12 billion dollars.

Last week the Saudi energy minister said Aramco would remain active in debt markets, raising the prospect of potential impacts on Saudi Arabia’s debt-to-GDP ratio and its sovereign credit rating.

 

 

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Economy

Islamic Development Bank starts marketing 5-year-dollar sukuk

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By

Sukuk

or Islamic bond, a document issued by one of the banks showed.

The Jeddah-based triple A-rated institution gave initial price guidance in the high 40 basis points over mid swaps area,

the document showed.

IsDB has appointed Credit Agricole CIB, Emirates NBD Capital, Gulf International Bank, HSBC, JPMorgan, Natixis

and Standard Chartered as joint lead managers and book runners.

Sukuk is the Arabic name for financial certificates, also commonly referred to as “sharia compliant’’ bonds.

Sukuk is defined by Accounting and Auditing Organisation for Islamic Financial Institutions (AAOIFI)

as “securities of equal denomination representing individual ownership interests in a portfolio of eligible existing or future assets.

Islamic bonds, structured in such a way as to generate returns to investors without infringing Islamic law (that prohibits riba or interest).

 

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Economy

Sukuk Bonds: FG to complete dualisation of highways in North-East

The Director of Highways, North-East, Federal Ministry of Power,Works and Housing, Alhaji Mohammad Rufai made the disclosure on Sunday in Jakana , Borno state, while inspecting the road projects.

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Sukuk Bonds: FG to complete dualisation of highways in North-East
Highways
By Kingsley OKoye
Jakana (Borno) Feb.10, 2019(NNN)The Federal Government says part of the N100billion proceeds from the Sovereign Sukuk bonds will be used to complete the ongoing dualisation of five sections of Kano- Maiduguri highways.

The Director of Highways, North-East, Federal Ministry of Power,Works and Housing, Alhaji Mohammad Rufai made the disclosure on Sunday in Jakana , Borno state, while inspecting the road projects.

The News Agency of Nigeria (NNN), reports that section two of the project, with a 142 Kilo Meter (KM) length covers Dutse-Kwanar Huguma in Jigawa state state.

The section three, with a 106.341km is located between Azare-Potiskum axis in Yobe state.

Similarly, the section four projects are situated along Damaturu-Maiduguri with 145.109km, while the section five corridors are located between Potiskum-Damaturu with 102.075km length.

The projects differently executed by Messers CCECC Nigeria Ltd, Mothercat Ltd, Setraco Nigeria Ltd, and CGC Nigeria Ltd are in significant stages of completion.

Rufai, who inspected the road projects, in company of Federal controllers of works in the states said he was satisfied with the performance of the contractors handling the projects.

According to him, the contractors have been executing the projects based on schedule of the contract terms.

“The quality of work on the road is okay and the progress is on schedule, some of the contractors have even gone ahead of the scheduled program.

” So, we are willing to engage them again, if the opportunity comes up.’

The director attributed the success of the projects to improved security situation in the region and provision of Sukuk funding by the Federal Government.

“Sukuk funding has actually helped a lot because the contractors were able to push the work to this extent because of sukuk fund.

” The second sukuk fund will be used to complete the road projects.

“Government is doing what it ought to do, recently, sukuk released N100 billion for the second phase and modalities are being worked out to deploy the funds.”

At the section five site of the project, Alhaji Ibrahim Barde,the village Head of Alaraba in Portiskum emirate council told NNN that the community was grateful to the federal government for dualising the roads.

According to him, the dualisation has so far increased the economic fortune of the community through job creation and establishment of new business.

” We are grateful to the federal government for this project, we are the beneficiary of this road, in fact, my domain has 38km of Potiskum-Damaturu road.

“We are happy for the development, we thank the federal government.”

He said the Emir of Portiskum, Alhaji Umaru, Bubaran was happy for the project, noting that they have being working harmoniously with the contractors handling the project.

Mr Ayuba Haruna, one of the engineers also told NNN that it was cherry that a significant number of workers on the site were indigenous engineers.

“We have more than 20 local engineers working on the site and the project Chief Engineer is a local engineer.

” The Chinese engineers do the supervision, we are the people doing the field work, the project has created many direct and indirect jobs for the people,” Haruna said. (NNN)
KC/EAL
=======
Edited by Ekemini Ladejobi

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Politics

Senate assures of prompt compensation for property owners on Benin-Lokoja road

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The Senate on Tuesday assured that it would prevail on Federal Government to compensate persons whose property were affected by ongoing dualisation of Benin-Lokoja road.

Chairman Senate Committee on Works Sen. Adamu Aliero said this when he led members of the committee on inspection tour of some projects in South South.

Aliero while noting that there were quite a number of houses affected by the expansion and rehabilitation of the road, said that the committee would follow up with Ministry of Works to ensure that the compensations were paid.

Nigeria News Agency reports that the Benin-Lokoja road has four sections-  Dualisation of Lokoja-Benin road, Ehor, Dualisation of Sapele-Agbor-Ewu road, Dualisation of Lokoja-Benin road in Auchi-Ehor, Benin and Dualisation of Lokoja-Benin Okene-Auchi Section.

According to Aliero, initially, some of the sections of the road were unduly delayed.

“However,  when SUKUK Funding was introduced, work started moving at a very impressive speed.

“SUKUK is an arrangement by federal government for a bond to fund critical roads in the country.

“We are hoping that within the next one and half years, the road will be completed.

“We have asked the contractor to remobilise and get more labour and equipment to site so that the work will be completed within the period given by the ministry,” he said.

Edo Controller Works, Mr Mike Oke noted that there was still a lot of work outstanding due to  irregularity of funding.

“The completion of the project depends on funding. The contractors are on ground. Once money is made available  to them regularly, then they will work,” he said.

Project Manager Mothercat Ltd, Mr Joubran Saadeh said that the company would do its best to meet up with the scheduled period for completion.

He appreciated federal government for regular budgetary allocation saying that it would help in expedite work at the site.

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General news

Contractor seeks additional 4 yrs. to complete Lokoja-Benin highway project

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The Project Manager of Rynoid Construction Company (RCC), Naor Narkisi, on Tuesday, said the company would need additional four years to complete it’s own section of the Lokoja-Benin highway project.

Narkisi said this when the Senate Committee on Works, led by Sen. Adamu Aliero, inspected the ongoing dualisation of the Benin-Lokoja highway to ascertain the level of work done.

According to him, the section four of the road (Ehor-Benin) was awarded to the company in 2012 and expected to be completed in 2018, a period which had since lapsed .

“We have forwarded request for augmentation and extension of completion period to the headquarters for consideration and approval.

“Delay in the approval for augmentation has resulted in considerable waste of time in the work,” Narkisi said.

Aliero, however, said the committee was impressed with the level of work done so far on the road.

”We are impressed with what we have seen; the contractor has been working in spite of being owed over N1.5 billion outstanding funds.

“We have asked him to continue because the work done is not commensurate with the advance payment received.

“We are very optimistic that government will source for fund to complete the project,” the committee chairman said.

He further said that dualisation of the road which started in 2012 was very important, even though its completion date had lapsed and the contractor had asked for extension of time.

‘”The ministry will grant additional two years so that within the period the road will be completed because it is a priority,” he said.

Aliero added that the committee had adequate provision in the 2020 budget and also funds from SUKUK bond for the project.

Edited By: Chinyere Bassey/Ejike Obeta
(NAN)

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Buhari will complete legacy projects in S/East -Adesina

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Mr Femi Adesina, Special Adviser to the President on Media and Publicity, says President Muhammadu Buhari will complete ongoing legacy projects in the South-East before the end of 2023.

Adesina gave the assurance when he received the Editorial management of Orient Daily Newspaper, led by veteran journalist and Editor-in-Chief, Stanley Egbochuku, at the State House, Abuja, on Thursday.

The presidential spokesman said several ongoing federal projects in the five south-eastern States of Abia, Anambra, Ebonyi, Enugu and Imo were at different stages of completion.

He recounted that in 2018, the Minister of Information and Culture, Lai Mohammed had listed 69 ongoing projects in the region, mainly roads and bridges, funded from budgetary allocations, the Sukuk Bond and the Presidential Infrastructure Development Fund.

‘‘Last December, I had reason to travel to Onitsha, Anambra State and onboard the flight to Asaba, I remember the Obi of Onitsha, Igwe Nnaemeka Alfred Achebe, asking me to ‘thank the President profusely for us on the second Niger Bridge.’

‘‘The good thing is that the project will be completed by February 2022, as promised by the contractor handling it,’’ he said.

Adesina welcomed the initiative by the media group to partner with his office to uphold professionalism in the media industry.

In his remarks, Egbochuku, a former Vice President of African Capital Alliance, who worked variously with Daily Times of Nigeria Plc, Concord Press Nigeria Limited, Business Day Media Limited, said:

‘‘Journalism is a profession that must be respected and we believe that the President’s media handlers (Femi Adesina and Garba Shehu) have done so much to promote this.

‘‘You have not disappointed us in the media industry and must be assured of our strong support.”

The Orient Daily Editor-in-Chief and Chief Operating Officer told the president’s spokesmen that the Awka-based publication recently received an approval for a facility, which would boost its operations and circulation across the country.

According to him, the media organisation with the slogan, ‘‘Setting the Bound Free,’’ wants to be a legacy media house, adding; ‘‘if we work with you we know we will get the needed support.’’

Egbochuku, a close associate of the late Chief MKO Abiola, thanked Buhari for conferring the highest national honour of Grand Commander of the Federal Republic (GCFR) on the acclaimed winner of June 12, 1993 presidential election.

Edited By: Ismail Abdulaziz (NAN)

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Metro

Aba-Ikot Ekpene road: Use local equipment, personnel, Fashola charges contractors

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The Minister of Works and Housing, Mr Babatunde Fashola, has advised contractors handling expansion of section 1, Aba – Ikot Ekpene road to deploy equipment and personnel locally to fast track the project.

Fashola said this in a statement signed by Mr Stephen Kilebi, Deputy Director, Public Relations, in the ministry and made available to Nigeria News Agency on Friday in Abuja.

He directed that all the bad portions of the road must be repaired before the rains start.

He said: “Try and repair the bad portions first before the rains come so that the people will know that government cares about them.’’

The minister said that the contract was initially awarded to a company but had to be terminated due to poor performance and re-awarded to Messrs CGGC Global Projects Nig. Limited.

Fashola gave assurance to the contractor that the project would not be abandoned due to lack of funds as it had been enlisted for SUKUK funding.

He further said that other bad portions of the Odukpani – Itu road, which many people did not understand the contractual responsibilities, had been awarded to another company.

Edited Chinyere Bassey/Donald Ugwu

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Politics

Declare  state of emergency on federal roads –Dapo Abiodun

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Gov. Dapo Abiodun of Ogun has called on the Federal Government to declare a state of emergency on federal roads in the country.

He made the call when members of the Senate Committee on Works led by its Chairman, Sen. Adamu Aliero, paid him a courtesy visit on Thursday in Abeokuta.

The governor said that the call became imperative as some of the roads; especially those in the South-West region were very deplorable.

“The township, rural and connecting roads are very deplorable. I want to call on you to declare a state of emergency on the federal roads because it’s as if our roads are nonexistent,’’ he said.

He said that as a result of the state of the roads, his administration was making efforts towards finding ways and means to ensure that people moved about easily.

“This effort we are doing is to ensure there is no loss of productive time and loss of lives.

“The Lagos-Ibadan expressway is being reconstructed; it is going to be a six-lane road. The population explosion on that corridor has far exceeded in that dimension. That road which is the busiest in Nigeria should at least be a 10-lane road at the minimum.

“By virtue of our location, we have federal roads including the Lagos-Ibadan expressway which traverses through Ogun, the busiest highway in the country, Sagamu-Ikorodu and the Lagos-Ota-Abeokuta road.

“We have the problem whereby our roads see more and more unusual traffic that they were built for.  We have a problem,’’ he said.

He described traveling on the Sagamu-Ikorodu highway as a harrowing experience.

“When I was informed you were coming on that highway, I shook my head knowing the harrowing experience.

“This is because this is the state of this particular highway that was the main link between the north and the south in the past before the Lagos-Ibadan express was built.

“It continues to remain the alternative road for people going to Ibadan from Lagos, it would have been that which provided relief for the amount of vehicles travelling on the Lagos-Ibadan expressway,’’ he said.

He noted that the vision of his administration was to provide focused and qualitative governance while creating an enabling environment for public-private partnership.

Abiodun further said that public-private partnership was fundamental to the economic growth of the state.

“The Lagos state governor and I said that since these roads are common to both of us and affecting the economy of both states and the quality of life of our people, what we should do is how to encourage public-private sector partnership,’’ he said.

He appreciated the members of the committee for the visit and sought their assistance towards ensuring the completion of the roads.

Aliero said that the Benin-Ofosu-Ore-Ajebandele-Sagamu dual carriage was funded by SUKUK.

He said that very soon, the National Assembly would give approval to President Muhammadu Buhari to borrow 29 billion dollars.

“We are sure that most of this money will be used on the reconstruction and rehabilitation of all ongoing road projects in the country.

“Government is not borrowing money to spend on recurrent expenditure; government is borrowing money to spend on infrastructure; for that reason the National Assembly is committed to granting that request,’’ he said.

He further said that the National Assembly would enact a law that would promote public-private partnership.

Edited By: Joseph Edeh/Kayode Olaitan

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Rural communities in Edo, beneficiaries of road project – Fashola

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The Minister of Works and Housing, Mr Babatunde Fashola on Monday said that rural communities along the Benin-Auchi-Okene road were benefiting from ongoing dualisation of road in Edo.

Fashola made this known while inspecting road project in the state.

He stated that president Muhammadu Buhari’s commitment to infrastructural development was aimed at distributing wealth to the rural people.

“As you can see from the first contractor’s brief, the company has employed about 404 direct and about 2,020 indirect workers.

“It may also interest you to know that materials being used for the construction work are sourced locally

“We are on the Benin-Auchi-Okene road; it leads the South to North. We are trying to add another lane of about 254km.

“Construction of the road will take some time because of funding and logistics challenges; so, the road will not be built at the snap of the fingers

“Our strategy is that whether we finish or not, we want to see what we can do differently in 2020 that is why we are here.

“Hopefully, there will be more SUKUK funds to ensure that the project is completed to ease movement,’’ he said.

The minister said government was achieving the main objective of saving lives and property by the intervention on the project.

“l am told that during the yuletide no life was lost on the Ewu hill (road) which used to be accident prone area,’’ he added.

Edited By: Johnson Eyiangho/Ekemini Ladejobi

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FG assures timely completion of 41.4 km Aba–Port Harcourt Road project 

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The Federal Government has assured early completion of the Enugu-Port Harcourt dual carriageway that cuts across Enugu, Abia and Rivers states.

John Fadere, Federal Controller of Works in Rivers and Head Supervisor of the project gave the assurance while inspecting the Oyibo, Rivers stretch of the project on Sunday.

Nigeria News Agency reports the project is one of the 25 critical roads in six geopolitical zones financed by the Federal Government under the N100 billion Sukuk Bond road intervention.

Fadere said the 41.4 kilometre Aba-Port Harcourt (section four) stretch of the entire Enugu-Port Harcourt Road project had attained 21 per cent completion.

“The section four of the Enugu-Port Harcourt Road project, awarded in 2015, starts from Aba and ends at Eleme Flyover in Port Harcourt, covering a distance of 41.4 kilometres.

“As at today, we have achieved 21 per cent completion of the road project while the contract period has rising to about 70 per cent.

“The project is expected to be completed before the end of 2022,” he said.

He said the Federal Executive Council (FEC) had in 2018 approved the upgrade of some section of the Aba-Port Harcourt Road project to eight lanes.

“So, 13 kilometres section of the road project stretching from Imo River (Abia/Port Harcourt boundary) to Eleme Flyover in Port Harcourt has been upgraded to eight lanes.

“The upgrade was sequel to challenges the project encountered before take-off. First was the ever increasing traffic density on the road and problem of surface water.

“We know that Rivers state soil water is very close to the surface. This makes it difficult for rain water to sink into the ground after rain,” he said.

Fadere assured that the contractor handling the project was working hard to complete the construction of 26 kilometre concrete drain to end flooding in the area.

Also speaking, Godwin Eke, the South-South Zonal Director of Federal Highway, described the project as a strategic road that connects South South states to commercial city of Aba and other South Eastern states.

According to him, the eight lane highways when completed would ease both human and vehicular traffic as well as boost commercial activities in the regions.

“We appeal to motorists to exercise patience as the road would soon be completed. The project made tremendous progress considering challenges it has faced,” he pleaded.

Mr Zou Xiaowei, the Project Manager, China Civil Engineering Construction Corporation (CCECC), assured that the project would be completed according to specification before the 2022.

He said the road when completed would last for period of 50 years.

Edited By: Rabiu Sani Ali

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FG to raise fund from bond for Calabar -Itu highway – Enang

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 The Senior Special Assistant to President Mohammadu Buhari on Niger Delta Development Commission (NDDC), Sen. Ita Enang, said the Federal Government has requested for funding support from SuKuk bond to finance the completion of Calabar-Itu highway.

Enang, who was fielding questions from newsmen in Uyo on Friday, said this would be through the Debt Management Office and other multilateral sources to enable it finance the Calabar-Itu road project.

The Presidential Aide said he had personally written to the Ministry of finance and the Ministry of Works and Housing to assist the project with loan from the SuKuk bond.

“Right now we are looking at multilateral sources of funding the road.

“I have written and I am requesting for funding support from the Ministries, from the SuKuk bond through the Debt Management Office, the Ministry of Finance and the Ministry of Works and Housing to help the road with loan from the SuKuk bond.

“SuKuk bond is one of the avenues of funding major projects and it is from there that a N100 billion was raised to finance Abuja-Lokoja road project and some other projects in the country. So, I have requested for funding from that window,” Enang said.

The presidential aide added that government would ensure the completion of East-West Road as it had been captured in 2020 budget.

On the proposed nuclear plant in the state, Enang urged Akwa Ibom people especially the Oku Iboku community to remain calm as the Federal Government would not do anything at the detriment of the people.

He said the project was on preliminary stage to sensitise the people on the benefits of nuclear plant over thermal and solar project.

He said that the project was at Environmental Impact Assessment stage, adding that it will be after this stage that the Federal Government will know the next line of action.

Enang said sensitisation did not mean the establishment of the nuclear plant in Oku Iboku, stressing that the Federal Government will continue to sensitise the people on the benefits of establishing nuclear plant in the state.

The New Agency of Nigeria recalls that last week, the Nigeria Atomic Energy Commission (NAEC) organised sensitisation campaign to address the benefits of nuclear energy.

The commission through its project Manager, Prof. Matthew Agu, had said that there were numerous benefits of nuclear power plant in a locality.

According to him, nuclear energy is friendly, safe and cheapest than thermal and solar.

He added that nuclear energy was quite environmental friendly.

“The nuclear power energy industry plays an important role in the socio-economic growth of the country.

“This ranges from job creation, provision of basic amenities to generation of substantial domestic economic value in electricity sales and revenue.

“A recent analysis has found that nuclear power plants create some of the largest economic benefits compared to other electric generating technologies due to their size and number of workers needed for the operation of the plants.

“Operation of nuclear plant requires 800 to 1, 200 direct permanent jobs per reactor,’’ Agu said.

He, however, said that the challenge confronting the establishment of nuclear plant in spite of the numerous benefits was people acceptance.

Edited by: Gregg Mmaduakolam/Muhammad Suleiman Tola
(NAN)

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FG urged to fund Mayo Belwa – Toungo road project in Adamawa

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The Federal Government has been urged to adequately fund and ensure timely completion of the 112kms Mayo Belwa – Toungo highway in Adamawa.

The contractor handoing the project, Triacta Nigeria Ltd, and the Federal Controller of Works in the state, Mr Salihu Abubakar, made the appeal in separate interviews with the Nigeria News Agency in Yola on Friday.

They identified lack of adequate funding as the major constraint obstructing the speedy reconstruction of the Mayo Belwa-Jada-Ganye-Toungo federal highway connecting neighbouring the Republic of Cameroon.

NAN recalls that the road rehabilitation job was flagged off on Aug. 28, 2018.

The contract was awarded to Triacta Nigeria Limited at a cost of  N22.69 billion.

The construction was to cover 112 kilometres with a completion deadline of 36 months.

But a check conducted by NAN indicated that since the flag-off of the project 16 months ago, the work had covered only 28 kilometres.

Mr Elie Farhat, the Managing Director of the construction firm, said the slow pace of work spanning across Mayo Belwa, Jada, Ganye and Toungo Local Government Areas was due to poor funding of the project.

“As I am talking to you now the slow speed of the work is due to poor funding of the project. The company received only N1.9 billion as kick off payment.

“The Ministry is owing us over N4.2 billiona on this particular  project.

“And since the flag off of the construction in August 2018, we are able to cover only 28 kilometres out of 112 Kilometers,” Farhat said.

According to him, report reaching the company suggests that the project was initially awarded under Sukuk bond.

“But to our surprise the project was later removed under the Sukuk bond,” he claimed.

The managing director also expressed worry that government had allocated only N500 million to finance the project in the 2020 budget.

He pointed out that it would now take the company about 10 years to complete the work instead of three years.

“If there is proper funding in two and a half years, I assure you the job will be completed,” Farhat said.

Reacting to the development, the Federal Controller of Works in Adamawa, Mr Salihu Abubakar, called for proper funding to ensure timely completion of the road project.

Abubakar said lack of payment by the federal government to the construction firm was responsible for the slow pace of the reconstruction work.

“Lack of payment from Federal Government is the major factor behind the slow speed of the construction,” Abubakar confirmed.

Edited by: Muhammad Suleiman Tola
(NAN)

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Experts outline ways to fund Nigeria’s infrastructure deficit through capital market

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Experts outline ways to fund Nigeria’s infrastructure deficit through capital market

An investment banker and Head, Debt Capital Markets, FBNQuest Merchant Bank Limited, Mr Oluseun Olatidoye, has stressed the need for sound macroeconomic and policy frameworks to enable the capital market attract  investors to fund infrastructure projects in the country.

  annual conference of the Capital Market Correspondents Association of Nigeria (CAMCAN) on Saturday in Lagos.

He said the capital market was a very good platform for raising funds for infrastructure development.

According to him, the government has funded about 26 roads across the six geopolitical zones in the country to the tune of N200 billion through the FGN Sukuk I and II.

“We have raised N11.4 billion for the development of schools facilities in Osun State, and funded the development of affordable housing on the Mixta Real Estate Plc Bond Issues.

“We have also developed a number of roads, bridges, health facilities using the opportunity presented by the capital markets,” he said.

However, considering the huge financial outlay needed to bridge the the country’s infrastructure gap, Olatidoye said sound macroeconomic and policy frameworks must be provided by the federal government.

“As much as the government has its role, political interference must be limited. This insures investors against any form of political risk, and most importantly corruption which has the potential of crippling the entire endeavour,” said Olatidoye.

Olatidoye, who noted that foreign capital was a great deal in the domestic debt capital market, said project bonds, Sukuks, and other infrastructure-based fixed income products may be unappealing to foreign interest for a couple of reasons.

“Top of such concerns include: foreign exchange policies, liquidity, and tenor (money market has been the major destination for foreign portfolio investors).

“However, asides luring investors with reasonable yields, mitigating structures need to be in place to address risk factors, and this is largely reliant on a significant degree of macroeconomic policy stability and direction to capture offshore investors in long term domestic projects,” he said.

He noted that foreign exchange volatility, if not addressed could deter the interest of foreign investors.

“Depending on the structure of the bond, projects could be of a nature that expose financers to devaluation risks, which will whittle down the dollar value of local currency cash flow from such projects.

“Ultimately, if infrastructure funds are the preferred options for issuers, the ingenuity of financial advisers would be put to test in coming up with structures that protect investors from currency fears (assuming the status quo remains) and also meeting the rating criteria,” he said.

Oladitoye noted that regulators had the responsibility to educate the investing public and other capital market participants.

“This forms the starting point of extracting the most benefit from an efficient capital market.

“As an incentive, the overall cost related to pre-issuance, issuance and post-issuance activities should be revised downwards. Specifically, a favourable tax regime should be instituted for infrastructural investments,” he said.

Earlier, in her keynote address, Ms Mary Uduk, the acting Director-General, the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) said the theme of the workshop was apt.

“Nigeria has a huge gap in infrastructure base measured through levels of physical capital of roads, public education, electricity production, health infrastructure, and access to treated water,” she said.

Uduk said the Nigerian government, like other developing countries, continued to face significant challenges in implementing programmes to build basic infrastructure, as the traditional source of infrastructure funding was through public expenditure and development finance aids.

According to her, these sources of infrastructure financing have been found to be inadequate as evidenced by the country’s infrastructure gap.

“A report by the African Development Bank on Nigeria’s Infrastructure Plan in 2013 estimated that Nigeria would need to invest about $350 billion in its infrastructure sector in 10 years to be at par with its peers.

“The government, in recognition of this, is doing its best to close the infrastructure gap as outlined in the Economic Recovery and Growth Plan (ERGP) for 2017-2020,” she said.

She said the establishment of an active infrastructure fund as proposed by capital stakeholders would be beneficial in closing the infrastructure gap in the country.

According to her, there are various sources of funds available in the market such as the pension funds, real estate investment trust and collective investment scheme, which can be harnessed for infrastructure development.

Uduk represented by Mr Sufian Abdulkarim, Head of Department, External Relations, SEC, said the government could not be the sole provider of infrastructure, noting that active private sector participation was also needed.

The SEC boss said the capital market provided an enabling environment for private investment in infrastructure project, adding that SEC was doing everything within its powers to promote this through the implementation of the Capital Market master plan 2015 to 2025.

She urged government to leverage on alternative sources of infrastructure financing in the capital market in a bid to diversify the economy and develop infrastructure in NIgeria.

Edited & Vetted By: Salif Atojoko
(NAN)

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FEC okays additional capital increase for Nigeria at International Reconstruction bank

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Capital

By Chijioke Okoronkwo

Abuja, Nov. 13, 2019 The Federal Executive Council(FEC) has approved the submission of Memorandum of  Law  for additional capital increase for Nigeria at the International Bank for Reconstruction and Development(IBRD).

NAN reports that IBRD is a global development cooperative owned by 189 member countries.

As the largest development bank in the world, it supports the World Bank Group’s mission by providing loans, guarantees, risk management products, and advisory services to middle-income and creditworthy low-income countries, as well as by coordinating responses to regional and global challenges.

Hajia Zainab Ahmed, Minister of Finance, Budget and National Planning, disclosed this on Wednesday while briefing State House correspondents after the FEC meeting presided over by Vice President Yemi Osinbajo at the Presidential Villa, Abuja.

She said that prior to this period, Nigeria held 16, 187  shares at the IBRD.

The minister said that during the last meetings of the World Bank group during which the capital increase was adopted in Oct. 2018, an additional allocation of 3,230 shares was allocated to Nigeria.

Ahmed said that the total value of the shares was in the sum of 50.6 million dollars.

She said that the additional subscription by Nigeria was not just desirable but also necessary to strengthen the country’s position and enhance its voice in the global financial architecture.

“It is important also that we reported to council that Nigeria now classified by the World Bank as middle income country by reason of its GDP of over 397 billion dollars and a per capita income of 1,960 dollars per head at the end of 2018.

“This makes Nigeria qualified for a blend status in the World Bank that gives a country a leverage and enables us to access some less restricted resources of the bank both at IBRD as well as at the IDA windows.

“Subscription to these shares will enhance the future status of Nigeria as a middle income country as well as project the image of the country as a strong emerging market.

“We are required to by March, 2019 to have accepted this offer and we have since done the acceptance and we went to council today to get council’s approval to submit a memorandum of law to complete the documentation of the subscription process and council approved our prayers.’’

The minister also fielded questions from State House correspondents on funding for federal road projects.

She said that the Minister of Works and Housing had a proposed budget of N247 billion for the year 2020 as the greatest component of the budget was the fixing of Nigerian roads.

The minister said that though the Federal Government was not able to fund the budget by 100 per cent, the Ministries of Power, Works and Housing and Transportation were always given priority in the release of funds.

She said that some measures had been introduced which had seen private sector participants getting involved in road construction.

“ One of these measures is the Road Infrastructure Task Credit Scheme that the President approved by Executive Order early this year so far we have 17 companies that are carrying out 19 roads across the six geo-political zones.

“I also want to remind you that for the past two years, we have issued Sukuku bonds; in 2017, it was for the construction of 25 roads. In 2018, 23 roads and there is also another one that is being processed.

“We have a lot of roads in the country but not every road you see is a responsibility of the Federal government; the major arterial roads are the ones that are the responsibility of the federal government.

“Majority of the roads in the country are within the purview and responsibility of states as well as local governments,’’ she said.

She said that while enough had not been done, efforts were being made to do more including raising special funds for roads and such other infrastructure.

Ahmed recalled that in October, when the President was submitting the budget to the National Assembly, he indicated that he had given a directive that N600 billion for capital expenditure be released.

She said that the ministry complied and had so far released the sum of N650 billion and was targeting  to release up to N900 billion by December.

CJ/SH

edited by Sadiya Hamza

 

 

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Nigeria needs domestic savings, foreign capital to tackle infrastructure needs- Osinbajo

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The Federal Government on Thursday, stressed the need for mobilisation of domestic savings and foreign capital to finance the country’s needs in infrastructure, agriculture, housing SMEs and other services.

 

Prof. Yemi Osinbajo, Nigeria’s Vice President, who stated this in a keynote address delivered at the 2019 FMDQ Nigerian Capital Markets Conference in Lagos, said that Nigeria required more capital to grow, develop and attain its potential.

 

“We need to mobilise domestic savings and capital as well as attract the necessary foreign capital to finance our needs in the areas of infrastructure, agriculture, mining, industry, housing, SMEs, “he said.

 

Other sectors where he said such development was also needed include: information and communication technology, transportation and other services.”

 

Osinbajo, represented by Ms Mary Uduk, acting Director-General, the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC), said that the country needed to mobilise more funds to address its needs.

 

He noted that an African Development Bank report on Nigeria’s Infrastructure Plan in 2013 estimated that Nigeria would need to invest about 350 billion dollars in 10 years to meet up with its peers.

 

The vice president said that the administration of President Muhammadu Buhari was doing everything possible to close the gap in infrastructure deficit.

 

He explained that this was being done through direct expenditure and also by incentives given to private investors, domestic and foreign to invest in the critical sectors of the economy.

 

“The Economic Recovery and Growth Plan (ERGP) (2017-2020) has a major objective of building a globally competitive economy through investment in infrastructure, improvement in business environment and promotion of digital-led growth.

 

“No doubt, this objective requires fresh and adequate capital.”

 

According to him, the need to attract capital is further underscored by the ERGP’s initiatives such as the promotion of innovation and technology-led industries, encouragement of private equity and venture capital players.

 

He stated that government had also issued green, infrastructure and diaspora bonds to sustain finance.

 

“Between February 2017 and November 2018, we have explored the international market to raise capital by issuing series of Eurobonds and a Diaspora bond in June, 2017.

 

“This approach to diversifying our sources of capital has assisted in making our country a destination of capital and further deepening our capital market.

 

“Private issuers are also encouraged to issue these instruments, leaning on the success recorded by the Federal government.

 

“The secondary markets of some of these instruments are also getting more liquid as observed on the Exchanges.”

 

He said that government had increased allocation to capital projects in annual budget to boost infrastructure development.

 

“For instance, we have been allocating, on the average, close to 30 per cent of our expenditure to capital projects.

 

“We are proposing about 21 per cent of the N10.33 trillion of the 2020 budget as capital expenditure.”

 

Speaking on some of government’s plan for 2020, Osinbajo said that Federal government would sustain growth and ensure creation of more jobs in 2020 and conduct major reforms on Deep Offshore and Inland Basin Production Sharing Contract.

 

Osinbajo also said that government would leverage on the private sector funding for capital projects through tax credit schemes and as well modernise the national grid under the Presidential Power Initiative.

 

He said that the administration would issue more licenses to build modern terminals in ports and continue to engage in innovative borrowing, using Sukuk, Green Bonds and Diaspora Bonds.

 

“However, we recognise that government alone cannot muster and deploy enough resources that are necessary for Nigeria’s development, due to competing and rising needs as well as challenges in revenue sources and collection.”

 

Earlier in her opening address,  Uduk said that the Capital Market Master Plan (2015-2025) was launched to transform the Nigerian capital market with a view to making it more competitive to enable it contribute its quota to developing the nation, through funds mobilisation.

 

She said that the plan was hinged on four strategic themes: Contribution to National Economy, Competitiveness, Market Structure and Regulation and Oversight.

 

Uduk said that SEC, in partnership with the market, had worked on initiatives that simplified the process of raising capital and reduced time to market in contributing to the national economy.

 

“The recent efforts toward developing the Nigerian commodities ecosystem and the Fintech space are also important contributions to the Nigerian economy.

 

“In order to enhance market competitiveness, the minimum capital requirements for capital market operators were raised and transaction costs reduced for equities and fixed income segment of the market,“ she said.

 

Other areas she said were “a robust complaint management framework introduced and various other initiatives being implemented to enhance liquidity. “

 

“Toward improving the market structure, minimum operating standards for all market operators have been implemented.

 

“Some of the ongoing initiatives; such as the e-dividend, multiple subscription, direct cash settlement and electronic distribution of companies’ annual reports are geared toward achieving an innovative market structure.”

 

Nigeria News Agency reports that the conference has as theme: “Nigeria: A compelling destination of capital.“

Edited by Dada Ahmed

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Contact US: editor @nnn.com.ng, nnnnews247 @gmail.com

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