- Banwo & Ighodalo, others also to provide advisory services
Tobi Soniyi and Ndubuisi Francis in Abuja
The Federal Executive Council (FEC) has approved a consortium of financial, legal and communications advisers for the issuance of the $1billion Eurobond in the first quarter of next year.
The Finance Minister, Mrs. Kemi Adeosun, who disclosed this wednesday at the State House, Abuja, while briefing journalists after the FEC meeting, gave the names of the transaction parties as Citigroup, Standard Chartered Bank, Stanbic IBTC Holdings Plc, White & Case LLP, Banwo & Ighodalo and Africa Practice Communications.
She explained that the parties would run any Eurobond issue undertaken by the government over the next three years.
“We don’t have to keep on retendering, unless there is a major problem with any of them, they will be our transaction parties for the next three years,” she added.
Adeosun said government had obtained a certificate of no objection from the Bureau of Public Procurement (BPP) for the appointment of transaction advisers, after what she described as a “fully competitive open tender process”.
She said: “The $1 billion Eurobond programme is part of the funding for 2016 budget and we hope to be able to commence the process in January.
“We are confident that we will be able to complete the transaction expeditiously with significant interest.”
Adeosun said stability of the oil price was a boost to the nation’s economy, adding there is quite a bit of demand for emerging markets papers.
She said: “Nigeria’s paper is currently trading around the seven to eight per cent mark. We are expecting to get quite competitive pricing on the issuance programme which I said is to be used for the purpose of funding capital projects in the 2016 budget within the month of January.”
Also briefing journalists, the Minister of Environment, Mrs. Amina Mohammed, said the council approved a memo for the amendment of the gazette for the establishment of the Hydrocarbon Pollution Restoration Process.
According to her, the amendment would help to put in place all the structures needed for the smooth take off of the Ogoni clean up and the implementation of the United Nations Environmental Programme’s report.
She said the previous gazette did not provide for government structures such as a board of trustees or a structure that would be held accountable for the enormous amount of money which she said was already available for spending and additional monies that would be available from foreign partners.
She said government was already talking to those that would be affected by the Ogoni clean up, especially women in order to protect their means of livelihood.
She said: “This now will enable us to put more structure to the board of trustees which requires a legal entity to put the resources in and then we hope that in the new year we will begin to roll out, to begin with the building of the centre of excellence.
“The integrated soil treatment centre will also go up and then we will begin training, but in this case, we will start training many of the women on their livelihoods in the many of the contaminated areas.
“So we have to find better ways of speaking with communities and also ensuring that the livelihoods of women are not affected. We are also speaking to many of the young people there and we have received good feedback from those who are interested in being a part of the roll-out of the clean up of Ogoni land in the new year.”
Meanwhile, the Minister of Budget and National Planning, Senator Udoma Udo Udoma, has stated that Nigeria’s immediate priority is to increase oil output in order to boost revenue needed to diversify the economy.
Udoma told the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) Regional Director for Africa, Mr. Abdoulaye Mar Deiye, in Abuja, that although Nigeria was focused on diversification of its economy, it needs oil to get out of the oil-propelled economy.
He explained that though the global slump in oil prices introduced some shocks that affected the country’s economy, the immediate reason for the slump into recession was the massive reduction in output caused by the militancy in the oil-bearing Niger Delta region.