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Economy

Infrastructure Devt: FMDQ lists N8.50bn NSP green bond

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FMDQ OTC Securities Exchange, has listed N8.50 billion North-South Power (NSP) Company Ltd., guaranteed green infrastructure bond on its platform targeted at infrastructure development.

The News Agency of Nigeria reports that the listing of the NSP-SPV series 1 N8.50 billion 15-year fixed rate green infrastructure bond at 15.60 per cent was under its N50 billion bond issuance programme.

FMDQ said in a statement in Lagos on Thursday that NSP was a first-time issuer in the domestic bond market, saying that, the bond was guaranteed by

Infrastructure Credit Guarantee Company Ltd. (“InfraCredit”).

NSP is an Africa-focused electricity generation company with a diverse and emerging portfolio focused on the electricity value chain, with special emphasis on renewable energy systems such as solar, electric, thermal, wind and hydro power plants.

Ms Tumi Sekoni, Associate Executive Director, Capital Markets, FMDQ, was quoted by the statement as saying that, the listing was a positive step toward addressing some of the infrastructural and environmental challenges in the nation.

Sekoni said that FMDQ with a passion for infrastructure and sustainable development in Nigeria had provided due diligence and availing credible and efficient platform for the listing and trading of the bond.

Also speaking, Ms Kaodi Ugoji, Associate Executive Director, Corporate Development, FMDQ, applauded all the parties to the issue for their concerted efforts toward ensuring the success of the issuance.

Ugoji noted that infrastructure posed a major challenge to the realisation of the potential of the Nigerian economy, which had not only stagnated economic development but inhibited improvement in the standard of living of the Nigerian people.

“FMDQ, therefore, recognises the untapped potential of the DCM for infrastructural development and is actively championing initiatives to leverage on these opportunities, which will promote economic growth and development for the benefit of the citizenry,’’ she said.

Peters said that it demonstrated the company’s market leadership, innovation and commitment to the highest standards of environmental, social and corporate governance.

“The success of the transaction further highlights the growing appetite for socially responsible investment in the Nigerian debt capital market.

“This Series 1 N8.5 billion 15-Year 15.60 per cent guaranteed fixed rate senior green infrastructure bond, provides a new vista of opportunity, not just for companies in the financial sector but for other corporate companies in Nigeria,” he said.

Politics

Lagos earmarks N103bn for infrastructure

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The Lagos State Government on Wednesday said it  earmarked N103 billion for the aggressive development of infrastructure across the state.

Commissioner for Economic Planning and Budget, Mr Sam Egube, made this known during the 2020 Ministerial Press Briefing to commemorate the first year in office of Governor Babajide Sanwo-Olu.

Egube said that huge resources were being injected into infrastructural development to create jobs for millions of residents directly or indirectly.

He disclosed that the state government had realised about N14 billion as donations for the management of COVID-19, and was ensuring prudent management of the fund.

Egube said the state reordered the budget to reflect the economic realities brought about by the COVID-19 pandemic, adding that the budget had been carefully reordered to cater for the needs of the people and enhance their living conditions.

‘The agric sector is also a big taker of employment and because food security is important, Songhai farm will be put to work and we have put N1.1 billion around that.

”We are also trying to reorganise the markets and review the market policy to trigger a wholesale market that will facilitate N2 billion into that.

”We have increased the budget for Employment Trust Fund with N1.8 billion and to focus on SMEs to get afloat,” he said.

Egube said that it would be recalled that on assumption of office, Gov. Babajide Sanwo-Olu, signed the 2019 Appropriation Bill into Law on June 3, 2019.

He added that it was a budget with total size of N873.532 billion, total revenue of N799.996 billion, Deficit Financing of N73.537 billion, and Recurrent Expenditure stood at N393.841 billion.

According to him, Capital Expenditure was at N479.691 billion which gave a Capital to Recurrent Ratio of 55 per cent: 45 per cent.

“Let me reiterate that the year 2020 Budget was signed into Law by Sanwo-Olu, on 31st December, 2019.

”It was a budget with total size of N1, 168.562billion (N1.168trn). Total Revenue of N1,071.03 billion (N1.071trn) Deficit financing N97.533 billion, Recurrent Expenditure stood at N457.529 billion, while Capital Expenditure was at N711.033 billion which gave a Capital to Recurrent Ratio of 61 per cent :39 per cent ” he said.

Egube, however, said that the year 2020 Budget was reviewed due to the COVID-19 pandemic impact on global economy.

He said that the year 2020 revised budget had been conveyed to the House of Assembly for consideration and approval.

The revised Budget size is N920.469 billion, Total Revenue N812.464 billion, Deficit financing N108.005 billion,  Recurrent Expendture N411.608 billion, Capital Expenditure N508.861 billion, Capital to Recurrent Ratio 55 per cent :45 per cent.

“Furthermore, as part of the effort of the administration to ensure performance in all its projects and programmes, the State Executive Council (EXCO) approved the implementation of the T.H.E.M.E.S. Peer Review Mechanism (TPRM) to MDAs self Assessment programme,” Egube said.


Edited By: Chioma Ugboma/Wale Ojetimi (NAN)

 

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Foreign

UNGA President urges investment in cycling infrastructure

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President of the United Nations General Assembly, Ambassador Tijani Muhammad-Bande, has called for investments in city infrastructure to support cycling.

In a message to mark the World Bicycle Day 2020, Muhammad-Bande, who is Nigeria’s ambassador to the UN, highlighted the socioeconomic and health benefits of cycling.

He said such investment would “contribute to a more safe, resilient and sustainable future for all of us.

This year, on World Bicycle Day, we acknowledge the uniqueness, longevity and versatility of the bicycle.

 “Bicycles are used every day across our globe – from the most affluent nations- to developing, and the least developed countries.

“Evidence suggests that even before COVID-19, many people turned to cycling as an affordable and equitable mode of transportation, leading to a longer and healthier life.

“Cycling has not only proven to improve physical health, but also has a positive impact on mental health and subjective well-being,” the envoy said.

Muhammad-Bande also underscored the importance of bicycle ownership to families in many countries, including lifting them out of poverty.

At the same time, it improves their access to “quality education, jobs, markets and community activities when public transportation is unavailable,” he noted.

In times of COVID-19, cities are being challenged to rethink their infrastructure, with bicycles playing a vital role in offering a quiet, economical, and non-polluting alternative to cars and public transportation systems.

“Safe, efficient, low carbon and affordable mobility for all is essential to achieving the Sustainable Development Goals,” he said.

The UN General Assembly declared June 3 as International World Bicycle Day in April 2018, in recognition of the “uniqueness, longevity and versatility of the bicycle.”

 


Edited By: Folorunso Poroye/Felix Ajide (NAN)

 

 

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Science & Technology

Buhari approves ministry’s request for security of telecoms infrastructure

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President Muhammadu Buhari has approved a request by the Minister of Communications and Digital Economy, Dr Isa Pantami, for  provision of security for telecommunications infrastructure across the country.

Pantami said this in a statement signed by Mrs Uwa Suleiman, the Spokesperson for the Minister, and made available to newsmen on Tuesday in Abuja.

As part of Federal Government policy, the minister had championed efforts to identify telecommunications infrastructure as critical national infrastructure, with a view to protecting them from vandalism and theft.

The minister said also that the president had directed that necessary physical protective measures be put in place to safeguard telecommunications infrastructure across the country.

He explained that the Nigerian telecommunications industry, depended on a number of infrastructure that played critical roles in the smooth delivery of telecoms services in the country.

He said: “These are part of Critical National Infrastructure (CNI) because of the important role they play, in ensuring security and in the delivery of other essential services.

The ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, has led to a massive migration to digital platforms and has increased the level of importance of Critical National Infrastructure to the sustenance of our economy and the security of the nation.”

Pantami, however, said that the Office of the National Security Adviser (ONSA) Defence Headquarters (DHQ) Nigeria Police Force (NPF) Department of State Security Services (DSS) and the Nigeria Security and Civil Defence Corps (NSCDC) had been notified of the president’s directives.

He thanked the president and commended the security agencies for the commitment they  demonstrated in securing the infrastructure.

The minister urged all the Mobile Network Operators (MNOs) to ensure that they further reduced the prices of data and calls for the citizens, adding that this was to reciprocate the gesture.

He also requested the MNOs to submit a comprehensive list of their facility locations all over the country.

“We are also working toward the reinforcement of these directives through appropriate regulatory instruments

The implementation of the National Broadband Plan (NBP) and the implementation of the National Digital Economy Policy and Strategy, both unveiled by the president, have repositioned the ICT sector.

“This is evident by the recent Nigeria’s Gross Domestic Product (GDP) Report released by the National Bureau of Statistics (NBS) which showed that the ICT sector contributed an unprecedented 14.07 per cent to the total GDP in the first quarter of 2020.

“We are confident that this will address the challenge of vandalism of our critical national infrastructure.

It will also go a long way in supporting the implementation of the National Broadband Plan (2020-2025),” the minister said.


Edited By: Chioma Ugboma/Ejike Obeta (NAN)

 

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Metro

Building infrastructure, key to aviation industry survival – stakeholders

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Stakeholders in the aviation industry, on Thursday, identified building of infrastructure as key to the sector’s survival in the postCOVID-19 pandemic era.

The stakeholders held this view at the just concluded second edition of the aviation webinar, organised by AELEX partners in Lagos.

The News Agency of Nigeria reports that the theme of the discussion was “Flying into Turbulent Skies, Safely Navigating COVID-19 Headwinds – Survival Strategies for Nigerian Aviation”.

The conversation centred on economic policy, state support and finance issues affecting airlines, airports and other stakeholders in the industry.

Mr Bismarck Rewane, the Chief Executive Officer of the Financial Derivatives, said the aviation industry had been the worst hit since the COVID-19 outbreak.

Rewane, therefore, recommended that friendly policies should be put in place, to kick-start the operations of the airlines.

According to him, the government’s focus should be on building aviation infrastructure to attract investments, rather than pursuing a national carrier.

Corroborating Rewane’s submission, Capt. Dapo Olumide, CEO, Ropeways Transport Ltd., described the development of infrastructure in the industry as the way forward.

Olumide, however, pointed out that the government “is not in the best position to make that provision’’, hence the need for privatisation.

He suggested privatisation or concession of the airport, as a long term solution to the survival of airports because of the profit-oriented nature of private businesses.

Mr Chris Aligbe, the CEO of Belujane Konsult, said there was the need for government intervention.

He said that the government should stimulate the entire industry to restore it back to what it was before the COVID-19 outbreak.

Aligbe also proposed the provision of the long term soft loan facilities to stabilise the industry.

He said the loan should be spread between eight and 10 years, at a low-interest rate of three to four per cent with a two-year moratorium, for all players in the industry.

Aligbe kicked against the idea of the government owning an airline, except in a public-private partnership.

Mr Aminu Ismail, Executive Director Operations of the Asset Management Corporation of Nigeria (AMCON), said the focus should be on reviving the Nigerian aviation.

Ismail noted that AMCON, over the years, had played a significant role in strengthening the industry by providing intervention funds of over N50 billion since 2012.

Ismail, just like other panellists, was of the opinion that the government should not own or run airlines.

He noted that the government should rather limit itself to policy formulation for the development of aviation.

According to him, there is a need for the industry to re-calibrate and implement solutions to be able to come out stronger after COVID-19.

Ismail suggested the government’s support for the industry through tax relief, suspension of payment of air passenger duty, access to forex, expansion of the aviation academy and provision of training and development facilities.

Ismail also called on airlines to refocus their network, resize, restructure and place a priority on cash management.

Mr Olumide Bolumole, Head of Listing at the Nigerian Stock Exchange (NSE), identified high cost of operations, the dominance of foreign operators and uncompetitive regulatory framework as factors militating against the survival of the aviation industry.

Bolumole highlighted lack of cheap and long term funding, inadequate infrastructure and safety issues as challenges facing the Nigerian aviation.

He called for proper business regulations and concessionaire of airports and other related infrastructure.

According to him, the capital market offers opportunities for operations in the aviation space to raise capital, required for its smooth operations and growth.

The News Agency of Nigeria reports that the Webinar panel of discussion was moderated by Mr Fubara Anga, the Head of Transportation and Finance Practice Groups, AELEX.  

Edited By: Folorunso Poroye/Abdulfatah Babatunde (NAN)

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Foreign

Mumbai plans to revamp slums over crumbling health infrastructure

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India’s Mumbai plans to revamp its slums including Asia’s largest slum in the city following the chaos over the crumbling health infrastructure in the city due to COVID-19.

Speaking on a video call with industry stakeholders, Jitendra Awhad, housing minister for India’s western state of Maharashtra, of which Mumbai is its political capital said, “Unless we rehabilitate slums and develop the entire health infrastructure in these places, we are not doing justice to common man in this city.”

Mumbai, which has 42 percent of its geographical area under slums occupied by 65-70 percent of the city population, including Asia’s largest slum spread over 613 hectares and home to some 1 million people.

Dharavi slum, which stands on a prime land in the heart of Mumbai, 6 km from India’s financial hub in the country’s richest business district, the Bandra Kurla Complex, has so far reported 1,639 positive cases.

Mumbai, with 33,835 positive cases of COVID-19 and 1,097 deaths, accounted for over 22 percent and 25 percent of the cases and deaths in India, respectively with higher incidence coming from slums.

The incumbent Municipal Commissioner of Mumbai, IS Chahal in the past was heading the slum redevelopment authority to redevelop Dharavi slum, that has been pending for over 16 years.

In 2018, the state government had invited bids to redevelop Dharavi slum but ended with no result.

As per the official update on Thursday evening, India, which now ranks 10th among all countries in terms of confirmed cases, has 86,110 active cases with 4,531 deaths reported so far.

(XINHUA)

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Sport

Sports minister inaugurates 12-man committee on COVID-19-compliant infrastructure

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Mr Sunday Dare, Minister of Youth and Sports Development, has inaugurated a 12 -member committee to ensure COVID-19-compliant infrastructure and protocols for the 20th National Sports Festival tagged “Edo 2020”.

The virtual inauguration by Dare in Abuja is a follow-up to the extraordinary National Council on Sports meeting on May 18, which called for the hosting of the postponed festival later in the year.

The minister urged members of the committee to interface with relevant agencies to ensure COVID-19-compliant  infrastructure for the festival.

“Your terms of reference include ascertaining the level of COVID-19 compliance to infrastructure put in place by the Edo government,

“You should also work out and put in place requirements to manage any foreseeable and unforeseeable crises that may arise as a result of the organisation of the 20th festival,” he said.

Dare also advised the committee to prepare a code of operations (COVID-19 protocols) that would guide athletes, officials, spectators and relevant stakeholders for the successful hosting of the event.

He called on the committee to come up with a new date for the festival to be hosted not later than November.

Earlier, Mr Tonobok Okowa, Chairman of the Committee and Executive Chairman, Delta State Sports Commission, had pledged to deliver on the national assignment.

“I can assure you that the committee is committed to ensuring it deliver on this national assignment,” Okowa said.

The News Agency of Nigeria reports that the committee is made up of sports commissioners from the six states in the south-south geo-political zone, officials from the ministries of health, youth and sports, NCDC, State Directors of Sports Forum, and Presidential Task Force on COVID-19.

Mr Peter Nelson, Acting Director, Planning, Monitoring and Information, Ministry of Youth and Sports Development, is to serve as the Secretary of the committee.

The committee has till June 18 to submit its report.

The 20th sports festival was initially scheduled for March 22 to April 1, but was postponed following an outbreak of the Coronavirus pandemic.

Edited By: Chinyere Bassey and Ephraims Sheyin (NAN)

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General news

LASG moves to criminalize infrastructure vandalism

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The Lagos State Government on Wednesday said that it would enforce laws to stop damage to public infrastructure, especially roads.

Mrs Aramide Adeyoye, Special Adviser to Gov. Babajide Sanwo-Olu on Works and Infrastructure, said this while taking questions from newsmen during the 2020 ministerial press briefing.

The briefing was also to commemorate first anniversary of the Sanwo-Olu administration.

Adeyoye, who lamented excess loading, indiscriminate road cutting and burning, as well as theft of manholes covers, appealed to residents to support the protection of government assets.

She explained that the office of the Civic Engagement would soon embark on massive enlightenment campaign to change attitude of residents towards public assets in the state.

“We are trying to promulgate laws and enforce existing laws to make people liable for vandalizing public assets.

“For open manholes covers, I keep saying this, anything we do not take ownership of is like no man’s property.

When I see people burn tyres on the road, manhole covers removed by scavengers, I say we should not be so destructive because this is your money, our money, tax payer’s money.

“Mechanics stay on the road and want to repair cars there, one thing we say in the Ministry of Works is, ‘stop vadalisation of those property take ownership of them.’

She urged residents to assist the government to safeguard the public facilities by educating themselves on the dangers their actions posed to others.

Adeyoye said that the state government was trying to harmonize its rules with a Federal Government law which criminalizes anyone carrying excess load beyond roads capacity in order to ensure the long lasting of the roads.

“It becomes like an offense when you do excess loading on those road pavements, you pay a charge or penalty. I am sure by the time we do that, these roads will last longer,’’ she said.

She said that the state government was also reviewing its Public Private Partnership (PPP) laws to encourage private sector participation to address the huge road infrastructure deficit in the state which government alone could not handle.

“We will definitely encourage PPP participation but we also need to amend our PPP laws so that it becomes attractive to investors.

“And also, our arbitration laws must be made to be investors friendly. So we are looking at those laws, so that we can get the best from investors.

“That is why we have called in investors for the 4th Mainland Bridge, we are looking for investors to see who has money and to see that they deliver value for the money,” she said.

Speaking on abandoned Federal Government buildings in the state, she said state government was planning to collaborate with the Federal Government on how to take over the management of the assets.

On inner roads and interconnectivity, she said that the state government had embarked on massive rehabilitation and reconstruction across the state to reduce travel time and remove gridlock.

The Special Adviser said that the state government had completed and commissioned 31 network of roads in Ojokoro LCDA within its one year period in office.

“The completion of these network of roads has offered traffic relief to the area, improved socio-economic activities and interconnectivity to the neighboring Ogun State.

The 20.2km length of network of road executed in two phases also creates easy access and reliefs the Lagos-Abeokuta Expressway,’’ she said.

Adeyoye said that the Ijedodo road neglected for several years had been awarded by the state government and would be handled by Messers Oceanic.

“In furtherance of the priority given to road rehabilitation and construction in Lagos State, the people of the flood prone areas of Ijegun, Ijagemo and Ijedodo will soon put harrowing experience behind them as the state government prepares to construct the phase I of the project situated in Ojo Local Government Area,’’ she said.

She said that the rehabilitation and upgrading of the Agric-Isawo road into a four-lane dual carriageway, conceived to link Ikorodu axis with Lagos-Ibadan expressway through Arepo in Ogun State, was about 20 per cent completed.

She added that the reconstruction and upgrade Of Igbogbo-Bola Ahmed Tinubu-Igbe road, Ikorodu, another project to link several communities was about 12 per cent completed.

She listed road under various completion stages to include, Samuel Ekundayo/Toga road in Badagry, Samuel Ekundayo road/Toga road, Intersection-Samuel Ekundayo/Aradagun-Iworo-Ajido-Epeme road Intersection and Ishefun -Camp Davies- Ijon road Network in Alimosho.

She also listed various interstate link roads to Ogun as well as car parks, jetties and other public buildings under construction to make life comfortable for Lagos residents.

Edited By: JaneFrances Oraka/Wale Ojetimi (NAN)

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Foreign

Roundup: New York governor meets Trump discussing reviving economy with infrastructure

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Governor of the U.S. state of New York Andrew Cuomo said that his meeting with President Donald Trump on Wednesday morning focused on reviving the economy tattered by COVID-19 with infrastructure building.

At a briefing held at the National Press Club in Washington D.C. later on Wednesday, Cuomo said he brought up the idea of supercharging New York’s reopening with infrastructure projects during his meeting with the president at the White House.

New York is one of the worst-hit states in the country during the pandemic and is in the process of a phased reopening. On Tuesday, the governor said it’s time to speed up some of the state’s long-overdue infrastructure projects, such as the rebuilding of Penn Station and the renovation of LaGuardia Airport in New York City.

Cuomo said he and the president had a “good discussion.”

“He understood what we were talking about. He understood what we need and he’s going to be thinking about it, talk to his team. He said we’ll talk next week,” said the governor.

At the briefing, Cuomo once again urged the U.S. Congress to allocate more federal funds to states hit hard by COVID-19, including his home state, and to set aside partisanship at a time of national crisis.

“So my point to our friends in the Congress… stop abusing the states who bore the brunt of the COVID virus through no fault of their own,” he said.

He expressed anger and frustration over some conservatives, who had called federal aid to New York state as a “blue state bailout.”

“This hyper-partisan Washington environment is toxic for this country,” said Cuomo, adding that New York gives 29 billion U.S. dollars more than it takes out from the federal funds every year.

The state saw 74 COVID-19 deaths on Tuesday, and that of Monday, 73, was the lowest in months. It’s “a sign that we’re headed in the right direction,” said the governor.

On Wednesday, Long Island became the latest region in New York state to enter the first phase of reopening, leaving New York City the only region remaining under the “PAUSE” order.

New York City mayor Bill de Blasio said on Wednesday’s briefing that the city will have 1,700 contact tracers in place by June 1, and will get to the level of 2,500 in the first half of June.

He said the city now conducts 27,000 tests per day, and “we’re well on our way to our goal of getting to at least 50,000 tests in the coming weeks.”

New York City still has to enhance the share of available hospital beds in order to meet all metrics for reopening. Both Cuomo and de Blasio have said the city is expected to reopen in June.

By Wednesday afternoon, New York state has reported over 364,000 COVID-19 cases and over 29,000 deaths. New York City has recorded nearly 200,000 cases, according to a tally kept by Johns Hopkins University.

(XINHUA)

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Economy

How to address Nigeria’s infrastructure gap — Experts

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Investment experts on Wednesday stressed the need for creation of bankable transactions and public private partnership, for infrastructure development.

They made the call at the virtual Financial System Strategy (FSS) 2020 Pension Sector Second Quarter Forum.

The experts said there was the need for creation of bankable transactions with the government to tackle the country’s infrastructure deficit.

Mr Bolaji Balogun, Chief Executive Officer, Chapel Hill Denham, said infrastructure should be structured through the loan and debt capital markets for the transaction to be bankable.

“Even in countries with significant wealth, infrastructure is structured through the loan and debt capital markets to ensure the transaction is bankable and that the costs reflect reality,” Balogun stated.

Speaking on the theme: “Financing Infrastructure Development in Nigeria — Challenges, Opportunities and the Way Forward,” he called for creation of bonds in infrastructural financing rather than loans.

Balogun said that stakeholders must work together for the country to achieve the desired growth in infrastructure development.

“Only if investment in infrastructure grows by 15 per cent to 18 per cent a year, we can reach eight per cent economic growth,” he said.

He also stressed the need for provision of an enabling environment that would drive infrastructure development.

Balogun urged government to embrace private capital in a very significant way in infrastructure development.

According to him, transactions should be structured in local currency and not dollar.

Balogun noted that the country would experience a boost in financial inclusion, improvement in balance of trade, long-term macro and price stability with a well-developed infrastructure.

Other gains of well-developed infrastructure,  according to him, are greater production competitiveness, enhanced housing, significant import substitution and robust pensions.

Mr Effiok Ekpenyong, Head, Investment Management Department, Securities and Exchange Commission  (SEC), called for collaboration of agencies to remove regulatory bottlenecks affecting infrastructure development.

Ekpenyong also called for partnership with international advisors in building and development of infrastructure financing.

He explained that SEC had already existing regulations and guidelines that would help participants in infrastructure development.

According to him, capacity training is very crucial for participants in infrastructure financing for the country to achieve expected growth and development.

Mr Chidi Izuwah, Director-General, Infrastructure Concession Regulatory Commission (ICRC), said government would work with the private sector to develop bankable transactions.

Izuwah noted that government alone cannot provide the needed infrastructure for economic growth and development.

He said that the country needed a long-term strategy and integrated master plan on infrastructure development.

Izuwah said political will was extremely important in infrastructure development.

Also, Mr Farouk Aminu, Head, Investment Services Department, National Pension Commission, said the commission introduced multi–funds structure to meet some of its FSS 2020 obligations.

Aminu called for creation of more infrastructure instruments that would attract Pension Fund Administrators (PFAs) to the market.

He explained that diversification of investment products would boost PFAs participation in infrastructure development.

Mr Chinua Azubuike, Chief Executive Officer, InfraCredit, called for creation of an enabling environment to crowd in capital.

Azubuike said the country should crowd in domestic credit from domestic funds with public private partnership in infrastructure development.

Edited By: Tayo Ikujuni/Oluwole Sogunle (NAN)

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