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FG Begins Implementation of Central Bank’s $600M Gas Expansion Fund

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Nigeria Gas Exports

Nigeria’s federal government has commenced the implementation of the Central Bank of Nigeria’s (CBN) N250 billion intervention fund for the National Gas Expansion Programme (NGEP), which is expected to create about three million direct and indirect jobs.

However, findings revealed that the federal government’s plan to enthrone an alternative energy regime in the country through its autogas policy may be heading for failure owing to apathy now observed among the petroleum products marketers towards the initiative.

The intervention facility for the NGEP, which is targeted at stimulating finance to the critical sector and motivate investment in the gas value chain being funded by the apex bank, the Permanent Secretary, Ministry of Petroleum Resources, Mr. Bitrus Nabasu, disclosed at the weekend that the process of receiving applications from potential beneficiaries to access the facility had commenced.

He stated that the fund was available to finance the establishment of gas processing plants and small-scale petrochemical plants, gas cylinder manufacturing plants, Compressed Natural Gas (CNG) regasification modular systems, automatic conversion kits or components manufacturing plants, CNG primary and secondary compression stations, as well as micro-distribution outlets and service centres of liquefied petroleum gas (LPG) sales.

Nabasu, noted that the intervention fund was designed to meet certain objectives, including improved access to finance for private sector investments in the domestic gas value chain and stimulate investments in the development of infrastructure to optimise domestic gas resources for It also set out to fast-track the adoption of CNG as the fuel of choice for transportation and power generation, as well as LPG as the fuel of choice for domestic cooking, transportation and captive power.

According to Nabasu, the fund would equally provide leverage for additional private sector investments in the domestic gas market, boost employment across the country and fast-track the development of gas-based industries, particularly petrochemical (fertiliser and methanol, among others).

This is with a view to supporting large industries such as agriculture, textile and related industries.

The fund, he added, would serve the development/enhancement of autogas transportation systems, conversion and distribution infrastructure, enhancement of domestic cylinder production and distribution by cylinder manufacturing plants and LPG wholesale outlets, and any other mid to downstream gas value chain-related activity recommended by the Ministry of Petroleum Resources.

The Permanent Secretary said: “It is expected that parties with the capacity to develop and operate any of the afore-listed projects would need to demonstrate project development experience.

“In addition, interested parties will need to demonstrate technical and commercial capacity.”

Nabasu stressed that interested applicants were required to demonstrate evidence of experience and capabilities in their proposed businesses in order to access the fund.

He urged interested applicants to provide at least general information about them, particularly experiences and evidence of technical competence as well as organisational structure.

Giving further details, Brenda Ataga, who is the Senior Technical Assistant on Gas Development and Investment to the Minister of State, Petroleum Resources, Chief Timipre Sylva, said the fund was launched August 2020 by the CBN, adding that since then 27 applications had been recorded on the high capital expenditure portion which has an obligor limit of N10 billion, while 50 applications were received from the small and medium-scale enterprises (SMEs) side.

The SMEs support portion, she disclosed, has a limit of N50 million, broken into start-ups and experienced applicants.

She disclosed that the evaluation of applicants would be based on seven fundamental areas.

“In this regard, our evaluation covers seven fundamental areas which must be evidenced by applicants, and it is very important that this is stated to the applicants because people have sent us all sorts of applications that are not in line with the recommended framework for evaluation.

“The essence is for us in the ministry to support the propagation of gas and also the creation of jobs through access to financing,’’ she said

SMEs, she added, would also follow a similar structure, noting that start-ups would enjoy some leniency in the financial model.

Stating that SMEs will prove that they are registered in Nigeria, pay their taxes, prove affiliation to first-class companies which are already established businesses with good track records within the gas value chain, she pointed out that there was no deadline for filing of applications.

According to her, some preferential treatment would be accorded indigenous companies as well as gender-based considerations for companies in the SMEs’ category.

Ataga noted that one of the positives to be derived from the fund is its potential to support the government’s drive to reduce greenhouse gases by a minimum of 50 percent.

Meanwhile, the federal government’s plan to enthrone an alternative energy regime in the country through its autogas policy may be heading for failure owing to apathy now observed among the petroleum products marketers towards the initiative.

THISDAY gathered that the absence of a sufficient number of cars converted from petrol-powered to either Compressed Natural Gas (CNG) or Liquefied Petroleum Gas (LPG)-powered in the country and the high cost of gas was dampening marketers’ interest in investing in the building and setting up of autogas filling stations.

In addition, the seeming failure of the federal government to convert about one million vehicles between December 2020, when the NGEP and the autogas initiative were launched, to December 2021, has further contributed to the marketers’ disinterest to continue with their investment in the programme.

The Minister of State for Petroleum Resources, Chief Timipre Sylva and the Group Managing Director of the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC), Mallam Mele Kyari, had promised that the government was going to assist Nigerians to convert their cars free of charge.

But Sylva’s Technical Adviser on Gas Business and Policy Implementation, Mr. Justice Derefaka, had said the conversion of cars, which he estimated was to cost between N200,000 and N250,000 for one car, was to be borne by each vehicle owner.

However, some of the marketers who spoke to THISDAY over the weekend on conditions of anonymity, said they would not take the risk of borrowing huge sums of money to invest in autogas stations when they were not sure of those to patronize them.

They argued that contrary to what it said, the federal has not been able to convert the one million vehicles they boasted they were going to convert before December 2021, adding that no businessman ventures into a business where there is no market for his goods or services.

One of the marketers who belongs to the Depot and Petroleum Products Marketers Association of Nigeria (DAPPMAN) said though the CBN had given them a repayment term of 10 years for the loan, it was no enough to attract them to go and borrow and invest in autogas facilities.

Sylva announced recently in Kano that the government had immediately reduced the domestic base price of natural gas to power plant producers from $2.50 to $2.18 per standard cubic feet (scf).

However, efforts made to get either the Ministry of Petroleum or the NNPC to react to the issues, particularly the extent reached with the conversion of the car, proved abortive as neither of them took their phone calls or replied to texts sent them.

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Economy

Nigeria Borrows $4 Billion Through Eurobonds as Order Book Peaked at $12.2 Billion

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Eurobonds - Investorsking

The Federal Government of Nigeria has raised a fresh $4 billion through Eurobonds, according to the latest statement from the Debt Management Office (DMO).

Nigeria had set out to raise $3 billion but investors oversubscription peaked at $12.2 billion, enabling the Federal Government to raise $1 billion more than the $3 billion it announced.

DMO said “This exceptional performance has been described as, “one of the biggest financial trades to come out of Africa in 2021” and “an excellent outcome”.

Bids were received from investors in Europe, America, Asia and several local investors. The statement noted that the quality of investors and the size of the Order Book demonstrated confidence in Nigeria.

The Eurobonds were issued in three tranches, details, namely seven years–,$1.25 billion at 6.125 per cent per annum; 12 years -$1.5 billion at 7.375 per cent per annum as well as 30 years -$1.25 billion at 8.25 per annum.

The DMO explained that the long tenors of the Eurobonds and the spread across different maturities are well aligned with Nigeria’s Debt Management Strategy, 2020 –2023.

The Eurobonds were issued as part of the New External Borrowing stipulated in the 2021 Appropriation Act. DMO noted that the $4 billion will help finance projects state in the 2021 budget.

Nigeria’s total debt stood at $87.239 billion as at March 31, 2021. However, with the $4 billion new borrowing, the nation’s debt is now $91.239 billion. A serious concern for most Nigerians given the nation’s weak foreign revenue generation and rising cost of servicing the debt.

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CIBN Banking and Finance Conference 2021: Structural Transformation and Growth

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Coronation Merchant Bank - Investors King

Today we highlight one of the sessions, ‘Economic Recovery’, at the recently concluded CIBN Banking and Finance conference. This was a hybrid event in Abuja, Lagos and partially virtual last week. The Covid-19 disruptions have created demand and supply shocks in the global system while unlocking new opportunities for growth.

Given the pre-existing financing challenges and growing spending needs, many developing countries are in dire need of financial support. As a result of the pandemic, the financing gap for the sustainable development goals increased by 70% (over USD4.2bn). The speaker on this session, Amina J. Mohammed, Deputy SecretaryGeneral of the United Nations and Chair of the United Nations Sustainable Development Group focused on structural transformation, technology, finance and sustainability.

Recent developments such as the allocation of the USD650bn in Special Drawing Rights (SDR) were highlighted during the session. Although the SDR offers improved liquidity into the system, Africa is set to receive only USD32.2bn (or 6.4% of the total amount). Therefore, it is important that the funds are channeled towards well-targeted sectors that can contribute to sustainable development.

The banking and finance sector plays a crucial role. The Africa Continental Free Trade Area (AFCFTA) agreement offers an opportunity for the financial sector to work within a continental market of 1.2 billion people. According to Amina J. Mohammed, three main actions areas will reshape the financial sector and support stronger recovery.

The first, better customer engagement with a dynamic range of relevant products and services that go beyond bank-based financing mechanisms and offer innovative financial products tailored to specific needs of business ecosystems. Second, the adoption of new operating models to drive efficiency and inclusion. Third, a deliberate focus on enabling sustainable development investing.

Furthermore, Nigeria’s banking and finance industry is well positioned to drive specific UN sustainable development goals such as inclusive and affordable credit, especially for micro, small and medium-sized enterprises. The industry can also provide support towards climate change.

Technology also featured in the discussion points. Undoubtedly, technology is a catalyst for growth across economies and the pandemic has further exposed the deficit within the sector across developing countries. Investments in digital infrastructure need to be rapidly expanded and scaled up to boost socio-economic development.

The speaker commended the FGN’s efforts on its push towards sustainable economic recovery. Some policy and regulatory reforms highlighted include, regulation of fintechs and related services to strengthen payment systems and regulate data protection; the green bonds which Nigeria first issued in 2017 in support of green projects, including solar energy and the modernisation of the Nigerian stock exchange that has given rise to a new operational structure and leadership.

These are laudable steps. However, we note that there is still room for improvement. To achieve double-digit GDP growth and sustainable development, structural transformation should remain on the FGN’s priority list.

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FG Plans To Deliver 15 Projects Across The Country With $4B Foreign Loans

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Muhammadu Buhari

Nigeria’s Presidency has explained that a total of 15 projects, spread across the six geo-political zones of the country, are to be financed with more than $4 billion from multilateral institutions.

Malam Garba Shehu, Senior Special Assistant to the President on Media and Publicity stated on Saturday in Abuja that the loan is under the 2018-2021 medium-term (rolling) external borrowing plan.

He revealed that President Muhammadu Buhari had already requested the Senate to approve sovereign loans of $4.054billion and €710million as well as grant components of $125million for the proposed projects.

He quoted the letter by the president as saying that the sovereign loans will be sourced from the World Bank, French Development Agency (AFD), China-Exim Bank, International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD), Credit Suisse Group and Standard Chartered/China Export and Credit (SINOSURE).

He said: “The President’s request to the Senate listed 15 proposed pipeline projects, the objectives, the implementation period, benefiting states, as well as the implementing Ministries, Departments and Agencies (MDAs).

“A breakdown of the Addendum to the Proposed Pipeline Projects for the 2018-2021 Medium Term (rolling) External Borrowing Plan shows that the World Bank is expected to finance seven projects including the $125million grant for ‘Better Education Services for All’.’’

According to him, the Global Partnership for Education grant is expected to increase equitable access for out-of-school children and improve literacy in focus states.

He expressed the hope that the grant, which would be implemented by the Federal Ministry of Education and the Universal Basic Education Commission (UBEC), would strengthen accountability for results in basic Education in Katsina, Oyo and Adamawa States.

Other projects to be financed by the World Bank, according to Shehu, are the State Fiscal, Transparency, Accountability and Sustainability Programme for Results as well as the Agro-Processing, Productivity, Enhancement and Livelihood Improvement Support Project.

He said the benefiting states for the agro-processing project included, Kogi, Kaduna, Kano, Cross River, Enugu and Lagos with the Federal Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development as the implementing ministry.

The presidential aide stated that the objective of the project was to enhance the agricultural productivity of small and medium-scale farmers and improve value addition along priority value chains in the participating states.

Shehu added that the World Bank would also be financing the Nigeria Sustainable Water Supply, Sanitation and Hygiene (WASH) project in Delta, Ekiti, Gombe, Kaduna, Katsina, Imo and Plateau States, for the next five years.

According to him, the project, when completed, is expected to improve rural water supply, sanitation and hygiene nationwide towards achieving Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) for water supply and sanitation by 2030.

“Under the external borrowing plan, the World Bank-supported projects also include Nigeria’s COVID-19 Preparedness and Response Project (COPREP), under the supervision of the Federal Ministry of Health and Nigeria Centre for Disease Control (NCDC).

“The project, which has an implementation period of five years, will respond to threats posed by COVID-19 through the procurement of vaccines.

“Furthermore, no fewer than 29 states are listed as beneficiaries of the Agro-Climatic Resilience in Arid Zone Landscape project, which is expected to reduce natural resource management conflicts in dry and semi-arid ecosystems in Nigeria,’’ he said.

He gave the names of the benefiting states for the project to be co-financed by the World Bank and European Investment Bank (EIB) to include: Akwa Ibom, Borno, Oyo, Sokoto, Kano, Katsina, Edo, Plateau, Abia and Nasarawa.

Others are; Delta, Niger, Gombe, Imo, Enugu, Kogi, Anambra, Niger, Ebonyi, Cross River, Ondo, Kaduna, Kebbi, Jigawa, Bauchi, Ekiti, Ogun, Benue, Yobe and Kwara.

He said the World Bank would also be funding the Livestock Productivity and Resilience project in no fewer than 19 states and the Federal Capital Territory (FCT) while the China EXIM Bank is expected to finance the construction of the branch line of Apapa-TinCan Island Port, under the Lagos-Ibadan Railway modernisation project.

Shehu said: “The French Development Agency will finance two projects, which include the National Digital Identity Management project and the Kaduna Bus Rapid Transport Project.

“The digital identity project will be co-financed with World Bank and EIB.

“The Value Chain Development Programme to be financed by IFAD and implemented in Anambra, Benue, Ebonyi, Niger, Ogun, Taraba, Nasarawa, Enugu and the Kogi States will empower 100,000 farmers, including over 6,000 and 3,000 processors and traders, respectively.

“The loan facility to be provided by European ECA/KfW/IPEX/APC will be spent on the construction of the Standard Gauge Rail (SGR) linking Nigeria with Niger Republic from Kano-Katsina-Daura-Jibiya-Maradi with branch to Dutse.

“The specific project title, Kano-Maradi SGR with a branch to Dutse, has an implementation period of 30 months and will be implemented by the Federal Ministry of Transport.

“The Chinese African Development Fund through the Bank of China is expected to provide a loan facility of $325 million for the establishment of three power and renewable energy projects including solar cells production facility Phase 1 & II, electric power transformer production, Plants 1, II, III and high voltage testing laboratory.

“The National Agency for Science and Engineering Infrastructure (NASENI) will implement the project aimed at increasing local capacity and capability in the development of power and renewable energy technologies and infrastructure,’’ he further disclosed.

Shehu revealed that Credit Suisse would finance major industrialization projects as well as micro, small and medium enterprises schemes to be executed by the Bank of Industry.

He said the SINOSURE and Standard Chartered Bank would also provide funds for the provision of 17MW Hybrid Solar Power infrastructure for the National Assembly (NASS) complex. “The project, with an implementation period of five years, is expected to address NASS power supply deficit and reduce the higher overhead burdensome cost of running and maintaining fossil fuel generators (25MW installed capacity) to power the assembly complex,’’ he added.

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