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Lagos Eyes $60M Investment, as Sanwo-Olu Signs Green Bond Market Agreement

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Lagos State becomes the first sub-national government to activate the framework for the unlocking of the $1 trillion Nigerian Green Bond Market Development Programme to finance key infrastructure projects.

On Tuesday, Governor Babajide Sanwo-Olu signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with FMDQ Group and Financial Sector Deepening (FSD) Africa, which are the programme’s implementing partners on the proposed N25 billion (over $60 million) financing.

The historic event, held at the State House in Marina, came less than 24 hours after Lagos was upgraded to AAA(nga) rating from AA+(nga) by Fitch International for the State’s good standing on debt sustainability and resilience.

Sanwo-Olu said the green bond programme, which is supported by the UK Agency for International Development (UK Aid), would raise the capacity of the State Government to deliver more key infrastructure and social projects that would keep Lagos on the path of prosperity.

Launched in 2018, the Green Bond Market Development Programme is to facilitate the development of a green bond market to support broader debt capital markets reforms that will impact the sovereign and non-sovereign bond markets in the country.

The programme is to empower State Governments to champion sustainable finance for development.

Sanwo-Olu said the MoU was the crucial first step being taken by Lagos towards creating viable financing options for future green and sustainability projects. The funding opportunity, he said, will advance the adoption of innovation and technologies to provide green jobs, thereby promoting economic and climate resiliency.

He said: “As a Government, we are committed to utilising our limited resources more efficiently to create a circular economy, which is a promising and viable alternative. Public spending and investments may not be enough to deliver our key objectives; therefore, the need to tap into more private investments for the transition to a zero-waste and circular economy, as well as achieving crucial items of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).

“I strongly believe that the Green Bond programme will open the doors of deeply sustainable funds for infrastructure and social development for Lagos. Being the biggest player in the sub-national capital market, Lagos’ experience can open new doors for a lot of others. As a State, we embrace the transparency and commitment that comes with a Green Finance framework. We believe it sends an important signal to investors in the market about who we are: a State that is fiscally responsible, prudent and disciplined.”

Sanwo-Olu said Lagos’ credentials in investment sustainability made the State take the bold step to activate the framework to benefit from the programme.

He said the initiative would go a long way in ensuring that key deliverables in his administration’s T.H.E.M.E.S agenda are actualised while pledging that the State would continue to blaze the trail of leadership, financial accountability, innovation and sustainability.

Special Adviser to the Governor on SDGs and Investment, Solape Hammond, said the journey to get the framework approved started last year, disclosing that the MoU highlighted key projects to be delivered by the State Government to actualise economic sustainability.

She said the finance would be invested in green projects, adding the implementing partners had created a mechanism to ensure funds earmarked were disbursed judiciously.

Commissioner for Finance, Dr Rabiu Olowo, said Lagos had 20 years of experience in raising bonds, assuring implementing partners and capital market operators of the State’s commitment to the terms highlighted in the framework.

Chief Executive Officer of FMDQ Group, Bola Onadele, said Lagos had built a reputation and “incredible potential” for catalysing broad-based sustainable development, which explained the partners’ readiness to support the State in unlocking the capital to fund key projects.

He said: “ I have no doubt that the implementation of this MoU and the impact thereof will ensure that Lagos continues to set itself apart, support its developmental aspirations and highlight its sustainability efforts at the global green and sustainable financial ecosystem. We are excited about this opportunity to support the developmental aspirations of Lagos.”

Also, FSD Africa CEO, Mark Napier, saluted the Governor’s energy and his commitment towards providing infrastructure which future generations can rely on.

He said: “It’s truly a significant event that the economic powerhouse of Africa’s largest economy is signing the green bond investment and I can say this is leadership being demonstrated by the Lagos State Government. I expect other States to follow this path.”

The high point was the signing of the MoU by all parties under the supervision of the State Attorney General and Commissioner for Justice, Moyo Onigbanjo, SAN and witnessed by the British Deputy High Commissioner, Ben Llewelly-Jones.

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Economy

Federal Government Halts Cooking Gas Export to Lower Local Prices

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In a bid to stabilize domestic prices and meet rising demand for cooking gas within Nigeria, the Federal Government has announced a temporary halt on the exportation of Liquefied Petroleum Gas (LPG), commonly known as cooking gas.

This decision follows a significant surge in the cost of cooking gas, which has placed a strain on consumers across the country.

According to reports, the halt in LPG export aims to increase the availability of the commodity within Nigeria’s borders, thereby reducing its local price.

The move is part of broader efforts to address the challenges faced by consumers grappling with the high cost of living.

In recent years, the demand for cooking gas has steadily increased in Nigeria, driven by urbanization, population growth, and a shift towards cleaner energy sources.

However, despite being a major producer of LPG, Nigeria has struggled to meet its domestic demand due to insufficient local production and distribution infrastructure.

Data from the Nigerian Midstream Downstream Petroleum Regulatory Authority reveals that while the total consumption of cooking gas in Nigeria has been on the rise, the country has relied heavily on imports to bridge the supply gap.

The recent decision by the government underscores its commitment to prioritizing the domestic market and ensuring that Nigerians have access to affordable cooking gas.

Consumers have been grappling with escalating prices, with reports indicating a significant increase in the cost of refilling a 12.5kg cylinder of cooking gas in major cities like Abuja, Lagos, and Kano.

The decision to halt LPG exports signals a proactive measure by the government to mitigate the adverse effects of rising prices and alleviate the financial burden on households across the nation.

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Manufacturing Sector Records 7.70% Quarter-on-Quarter Growth in Q4 2023

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In the fourth quarter of 2023, Nigeria’s manufacturing sector grew by 7.70% year-on-year, according to the National Bureau of Statistics (NBS).

The surge in growth reflects a significant uptick from the preceding quarter and underscores the resilience of the manufacturing industry amid economic challenges.

This growth trajectory indicates positive momentum and signals potential opportunities for economic recovery and development.

The manufacturing sector, comprising thirteen key activities ranging from oil refining to motor vehicles and assembly, demonstrated notable dynamism across various subsectors.

This growth surge is attributed to increased production, enhanced operational efficiencies, and strategic investments across the manufacturing value chain.

Despite facing headwinds such as supply chain disruptions and regulatory uncertainties, the sector’s robust performance underscores its pivotal role in driving economic diversification, job creation, and industrialization efforts in Nigeria.

Moving forward, sustaining this growth momentum will require continued policy support, investment in infrastructure, and efforts to address key bottlenecks hindering the sector’s expansion.

By fostering an enabling business environment and promoting innovation and technology adoption, Nigeria’s manufacturing sector can further catalyze inclusive economic growth and contribute significantly to the nation’s development agenda.

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Economy

Nigeria’s GDP Grows by 3.46% in Q4 2023, Driven by Services

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Nigeria’s Gross Domestic Product (GDP) grew by 3.46% in the fourth quarter (Q4) of 2023 on the back of robust performance of the services sector, according to data released by the National Bureau of Statistics (NBS).

The GDP expansion though slightly lower than the 3.52% recorded in the same period of 2022, reflects a positive trajectory for the Nigerian economy amid ongoing challenges.

The growth rate surpassed the 2.54% recorded in the preceding quarter, indicating a rebound in economic activity.

The services sector emerged as the key driver of growth expanding by 3.98% and contributing 56.55% to the overall GDP.

This sector’s resilience underscores its pivotal role in Nigeria’s economic landscape, encompassing diverse industries such as telecommunications, finance, and real estate.

Also, the agriculture sector experienced growth, expanding by 2.10% compared to the same period in 2022.

Meanwhile, the industry sector recorded a notable improvement, growing by 3.86%, a stark contrast to the -0.94% contraction observed in the fourth quarter of 2022.

On an annual basis, Nigeria’s GDP expanded by 2.74% in 2023 compared to 3.10% in the previous year, reflecting sustained but moderated growth.

The positive trajectory in GDP growth reflects resilience in the face of various economic challenges.

However, sustaining and accelerating growth will require continued efforts to address structural bottlenecks, foster investment, and promote inclusive economic policies across sectors.

Nigeria’s Oil Sector Growth

During the fourth quarter of 2023, Nigeria’s oil sector posted a real growth rate of 12.11% year-on-year, signifying a significant improvement from previous periods.

This was driven by the surge in average daily oil production to 1.55 million barrels per day (mbpd), a positive shift in the sector’s performance.

Despite challenges such as global market fluctuations and production constraints, the oil sector contributed 4.70% to the nation’s total real GDP in Q4 2023.

Nigeria’s Non-Oil Sector

Nigeria’s non-oil sector sustained growth momentum, posting a 3.07% real growth rate in Q4 2023.

This growth was primarily attributed to key industries including finance, telecommunications, agriculture, manufacturing, and construction.

Accounting for 95.30% of the nation’s GDP in the same quarter, the non-oil sector continues to drive economic diversification efforts and reduce dependence on oil revenues.

Despite facing challenges, such as infrastructure deficits and regulatory bottlenecks, the sector’s resilience underscores its pivotal role in fostering sustainable economic development and inclusive growth agendas.

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