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FG Reveals How it Expensed N613bn Sukuk Loan on Road, Bridge Constructions



Zainab Ahmed

The Federal Government has explained that it expended the sum of N612.56bn gotten through Sovereign Sukuk between 2017 and 2021 on construction and rehabilitation of 77 road projects and 23 bridges.

The Minister of Finance, Budget and National Planning, Dr Zainab Ahmed, made this known at the symbolic cheque presentation ceremony of the 2022 Sovereign Sukuk Issue proceeds of N130bn to the Ministry of Works and Housing and the Federal Capital Territory Administration.

While 71 road projects and four bridges were under the purview of the Ministry of Works and Housing, Ahmed said that six road projects and 19 bridges were handled by the FCTA.

She further explained that the administration of President Muhammadu Buhari had raised the sum of N612.557bn through sovereign sukuk between 2017 and 2021 for the purpose of construction and rehabilitation of key economic road projects in the six geo-political zones and the Federal Capital Territory.

The minister noted that the money was duly expended on the projects as earlier planned, adding that the amount has been used to construct and rehabilitate sections of 71 road projects covering 2,808.06 kilometers and four bridges by the FMWH and sections of six road projects covering 99 kilometers and 19 bridges by the FCTA.

According to her, from the N130bn raised from the sukuk issued in 2022, the Ministry of Works and Housing got N110bn while FCTA was given the sum of N20bn for road and bridge projects.

She said the FMWH and FCTA would be sharing the 2022 Sukuk Issue Proceeds of N130bn, adding that it was successfully issued by the Debt Management Office on behalf of the Federal Government of Nigeria on December 02, 2022.

Given further break-down of how the money was shared, Ahmed said Federal Ministry of Works and Housing got N110,000,000,000.00, while the Federal Capital Territory Administration took N20,000,000,000.00.

She further informed that the 2022 Sovereign Sukuk of N130bn would be released as part of the Capital Expenditure in the 2022 Appropriation Act, which has been shifted by the National Assembly till March 31, 2023.

As of November 2022, the finance minister noted that N1.88tn had been released as Capital Expenditure, representing about 40 per cent performance when compared to the total Capital Budget of N4.7tn.

However, Ahmed further explained that the capital expenditure performance, which she described as low, forced the minister to extend the fiscal period to implement the capital component of the 2022 Budget.

Also speaking at the forum, the Director-General, DMO, Patience Oniha, said that the Sukuk can be issued to fund any fixed asset in the country as designated by the finance minister, adding that the debt office started issuing the Sukuk in a challenging environment.

While noting that the issue process had become better over the years, Oniha said the office has been working transparently with the ministry of finance.

The Minister of Works and Housing, Babatunde Fashola, commended the sukuk bond initiative, describing it as a bailout instrument that has helped in fixing Nigerian roads in the country.

He noted that he inherited a sum of N18bn as total capital budget for roads in 2015 but the figure rose to about N266bn with the introduction of the Sukuk.

This interventions are coming even as Nigerians continue to lament poor conditions of roads across the country as number of road mishaps surge.


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Osinbajo Lauds China on Loans Offered to Africans, Repayment System




Nigeria’s Vice President, Prof. Yemi Osinbajo has commended the Chinese government for the loans given to African countries and its repayment system.

According to Osinbajo, the Chinese loans have reduced the reliance of Africans on international financial institutions like the World Bank, and International Monetary Fund amongst others.

He stated these at King’s College, London on March 27, 2023 while delivering a public lecture on ‘China’s Investment in Africa, Investors King reports.

The Vice President lauded China for constantly meeting the needs of African countries which has reduced the burden on the western institutions.

He further mentioned that the loan servicing system was made easy to aid the African economies, especially during the Covid-19 Pandemic in 2020. 

Through its Debt Service Suspension Initiative (DSSI), China offered 73 low income economies suspension of principal and interest payments.

“Chinese banks provided 63% of the total debt relief while being only owed 30% of the debt service payments due,” Osinbajo noted.

The VP pointed out that China is the largest provider of foreign direct investment which provides jobs for hundreds of thousands of Africans.

On Chinese investment in Africa, Osinbajo stated that $254 billion was disbursed in 2021 which was calculated as four times the volume of US-Africa trade.

“China remains by far the largest lender to African countries. Chinese companies have also taken the lead in exploiting minerals in Africa, many now in lithium mining in Mali, Ghana, Nigeria, DRC, Zimbabwe and Namibia. Most African countries are rightly unapologetic about their close ties with China. China shows up where and when the west will not or are reluctant.

“And many African countries are of the view that the ‘beware of the Chinese Trojan loans’ advice from the west is wise but probably self serving. Africa needs the loans and the infrastructure. And China offers them.”

“All of Chinese lending to Africa is only 5% of all outstanding public and publicly guaranteed debt in low and middle income countries, compared to 23% held by the World Bank and other multilaterals. Chinese lenders account for 12 per cent of Africa’s private and public external debt,” the vice president stated.

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FirstBank Announces a Name Change of its Subsidiaries, Reiterates its Commitment to Boosting Cross-border Payments



First Bank Of Nigeria

First Bank of Nigeria Limited, Nigeria’s premier financial services institution, has announced a phased corporate name change of its subsidiaries in the United Kingdom and Sub-Saharan Africa.

FBNBank UK, FBNBank Sierra Leone, FBNBank Gambia and FBNBank DRC are the first set of subsidiaries effecting the name alignment. They are now known and addressed as FirstBank UK, FirstBank Sierra Leone, FirstBank Gambia and FirstBank DRC. The Ghana, Senegal and Guinea subsidiaries will be next in the phased name change implementation.

The name change is being implemented to align the subsidiaries with the parent brand and to enjoy the strong heritage and brand equity built by FirstBank Nigeria in its 129 years of banking leadership. This will further enhance the quality-of-service delivery resulting in better brand clarity, uniformity and consistency across all the markets where the Bank operates.

A leading financial inclusion services provider, FirstBank Group is committed to its nation-building goal. It has taken giant performance strides on its unique growth trajectory as it continues to build distinctive capabilities through partnerships and the constant drive to reinvent itself.

This performance is evidenced in the numerous awards and recognitions bestowed on the institution. These awards include Best Private Bank for Sustainable Investing in Africa 2023 by Global Finance Awards; Best Corporate Bank in Western Africa 2022 by Global Banking; Finance; Best CSR Bank Africa by International Business Magazine in 2022; and ranked as number one in Nigeria in terms of Overall Performance; Profitability; Efficiency and Return o Risk by the Top 100 African Bank Rankings 2022 released by The Banker Magazine from the stables of Financial Times.

In addition, in Euromoney Market Leaders, an independent global assessment of the leading financial service providers conducted by Euromoney Institutional Investor Plc., the Bank was crowned: Market Leader in Corporate and Social Responsibility (CSR); Market Leader in Environmental, Social and Governance (ESG); Highly Regarded in Corporate Banking and Digital Solutions and Notable: in SME Banking.

Speaking on the name change, Dr. Adesola Adeduntan, CEO of FirstBank Group, said ” the name change which coincides with FirstBank’s 129th founding anniversary (March 31 st , 2023) is indeed a milestone reflective of our resolve to continuously provide the gold standard of excellence and value as we put our customers First.  The new identity of the subsidiaries contributes to an enhanced brand presence. It helps our customers and stakeholders better appreciate the value of the diversified products suites, competitive pricing and extensive business networks the FirstBank Group offers. These include our commitment to boosting cross-border businesses including trade and investment opportunities essential to enhancing trade relations amongst countries, thereby strengthening the economies of host communities and reducing poverty,” he concluded.

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First Bank Denies Forgery Allegation in Face of Legal Battle with Loan Defaulter



Loan - Investors King

First Bank of Nigeria Limited has issued a denial against the forgery allegation made by Francis Chukwumah Nwufor, the owner of Whiteplains British School.

In the lawsuit marked CR/266/2023, the federal ministry of justice had accused the bank of forging a “tripartite legal mortgage without the consent of Mr Francis Chukwumah Nwufor, with intent to commit fraud.”

In an official statement, First Bank described the accusation as a spurious allegation made by a delinquent debtor, which is aimed at tainting the bank’s loan recovery efforts and legal enforcement of its security collateral interest in line with the terms of the loan.

The bank emphasized that it operates by the highest standards of ethical conduct and will under no circumstances involve itself in any act of illegality. It further assured its numerous customers, stakeholders, and the general public that it remains focused on its mission of providing the best financial services.

The case has been adjourned until May 8th, as the prosecution lawyer stated that all the defendants had yet to be served with the charge.

It is common for loan defaulters to resort to legal battles with banks and this case is no different. However, it is important for both parties to ensure that the matter is handled in a transparent and legal manner.

First Bank’s denial of the allegation is a clear indication that it is standing firm against any attempt by recalcitrant debtors to fritter away depositors’ funds under its custody. The bank’s focus on its mission of providing the best financial services to its numerous customers is commendable and should be the guiding principle for all financial institutions.

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