The Senate yesterday approved the request by President Muhammadu Buhari to secure a $2 .786 billion foreign loan.
The loan is to be sourced from the international capital market as appropriated in the 2018 budget.
The upper chamber also gave its nod to the president ’s request to borrow $82 . 54 million to refinance the balance of $ 500 million matured Eurobond in the international capital market.
The Senate had on Wednesday October 10 , 2018 considered Buhari’s request to borrow the funds and referred the matter to its committee on local and foreign debts for further legislative action .
Yesterday , the report on the matter was presented at plenary by the committee chairman , Senator Shehu Sani.
Sani said the committee found that issuance of both $2 . 786 billion and $ 82 .54 million matured on July 12 , 2018 with an interest of 5 . 125 %.
He further stated that both approvals are for the part financing of the 2018 Budget, with particular interest in financing key infrastructure projects .
According to him , the committee however observed that “the external capital raising of $2 .786 billion will result in a portfolio mix of domestic debt – 68 % and external debt – 32 %, which is an improvement over the ratio of 70 : 30 as at June 30 , 2018.
He said the committee also found out that the issuance of bonds will contribute to the implementation of the debt management strategy , which seeks to reduce the cost of borrowing and that it will help to increase Nigeria ’ s external reserves .
The Senate committee advised that the federal government should reduce or limit its request for more external borrowing and source other means of generating internal revenue .
FG Okays $2 . 9 bn Eurobond To Fund 2018 Budget
Meanwhile , the federal government yesterday approved for the issuance of $2 . 9 billion Eurobond to fund capital projects in 2018 budget.
The minister of Finance , Zainab Ahmed, disclosed this after the Federal Executive Council ( FEC) meeting presided over by President Muhammadu Buhari at the presidential villa.
She noted that FEC also approved six Transaction Parties to advise the government on the issuance of $ 2 .78 billion Eurobonds and other securities in the International Capital Market ( ICM) .
The Transaction parties approved by Council are Citigroup Global Market Limited , Standard Chartered Bank as joint manager, FSDH Merchant Bank Limited as financial adviser, White And Case LLP , Banwo and Ighodalo as legal adviser and Africa Practice Limited as technical adviser on communication .
According to the minister, the transaction parties are expected to advise the federal government on the structure and timing as well as documentation for the issuance of the Eurobonds and other securities .
She said the approval is part of government ’s commitment to the implementation of the 2018 Appropriation Act adding that “consistent with government ’s policy on development of infrastructure , the proceeds of the Eurobond issuance will be deployed to fund critical capital projects in the 2018 Appropriation Act ”.
She said, “Today at the Federal Executive Council , we got approval for the issuance of $2 . 9 billion and other securities in Eurobonds from the international capital market.
“The focus of this approval is to enable us implement the borrowing external plan of N 849 .67 billion , equivalent of $2 .786 billion, which is provided for in the 2018 Appropriation Act and this is to fund capital projects in 2018 Budget .
“We also , as part of that , got approval to raise the sum of $ 82 .54 million to bridge the shortfall of the 500million Eurobond that matured on the July 12 , 2018. In addition to this approval for the issuance of Eurobond, we also got the approval for payment to transaction parties and their respective fees like settling bills and expenses .
“We have, as parties for the transactions, two joint league managers , a combination of Citibank group as well as Standard Chartered Bank as joint league managers and FSB Merchant Bank as financial advisers, the White and Case LIP as legal managers and Ighodalo as legal advisers for Nigeria . The total cost for this advisory group is N 374 ,618 ,889 .
Ahmed further hinted that FEC approved livelihood of family improvement project in the Niger Delta.
Stating that the project is called Life and D to be funded with the sum of $60 million that would be a combination of loans and grants, Ahmed said the projects will be implemented in the Niger Delta States of Abia , Akwa Ibom , Bayelsa , Cross River , Delta, Edo , Imo , Ondo and Rivers State .
However , she pointed out that when the government reviewed the project in the nine states, they found that six of the states met their own requirements , while the three that did not will be assisted to enable them improve and join the team in 2019 .
On capital release for the 2018 budget, she said , “Let me also move to the question that borders on capital releases . About two weeks ago , N 460 billion was released for capital budget ”.
On Paris Club Refund , the minister said President Buhari has given approval for the payment of the last Paris Club refund to the states but the approval came with some conditions .
She continued : “Those conditions that Mr President gave is that we must show that the states have used the previous refund for payment of salaries and they will use this one also for payment of salaries .
“The states that were not paid are Akwa Ibom , Rivers and Imo because they had some deficiencies and the agency that is handling it is working to bridge the gap ”.
On the controversy surrounding the balance of payment for ex - staff of Nigeria Airways , she said, “The approval given for payment of entitlements to the ex -staff of Nigeria Airways was N 45 billion and because of paucity of funds , Mr President gave approval for the payment of 50 per cent of N 22 . 6 billion . We hope in 2019 to pay the balance .”
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