By Ismaila Chafe
The Federal Government has announced the re-appointment of a consortium of banks including Citi Group, Standard Chartered, Stanbic IBTC, Whitten-Case and African Practice to implement its 2.5billion dollars Eurobond scheme.
The Minister of Finance, Mrs Kemi Adeosun, made this known to State House correspondents after the meeting of the Federal Executive Council (FEC) in Abuja on Wednesday.
She explained that the 2.5 billion dollars was not a new borrowing but Nigerian Treasury bills that would mature and would be refinanced into dollars, adding that it also fell under the external borrowing scheme for debt refinancing.
She revealed that potential savings on the proposed 2.5 billion dollars refinancing was estimated at N64 billion per annum
“The estimated proceeds of the N762.5 billion will be used to redeem NTBs.
“At estimated current NTB rates of 15% (following mop-up operations by the CBN), the savings from the refinancing of N762.5 billion of Domestic Debt using external capital raising is about N64 billion per annum,’’ she said.
The Minister said the use of the proceeds of the 500 million dollars issued in Nov. 2017, which produced about N162.50 billion were used to redeem Nigerian Treasury Bills (NTBs) which matured in Dec. 2017.
“The immediate impact was a significant drop in the Bid Rates at the Auctions of both NTBs and Federal Government of Nigeria Bonds in Dec. 2017 and Jan. 2018,’’ she added.
She disclosed that the NTBs dropped from about 16 per cent to 13 per cent, while the Bonds dropped from about 16 to 16.50 per cent to 13.50 per cent.
She maintained that this translated to “savings for government on new borrowing while also making the cost of borrowing for the real sector cheaper “since the sovereign rate serves as a benchmark for other borrowers.’’
The Minister of Information, who fielded questions on the reinstated Executive Secretary of National Health Insurance Scheme (NHIS), said he was not aware that the Executive Secretary was being investigated by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC).
He said: ““I am not aware that the EFCC is investigating the recently reinstated Executive Secretary of NHIS but if that is the case I don’t think his reinstatement is a bar to any investigation.”
“I didn’t say I’m not aware of his investigation, I said EFCC. I was precise I said I am not aware that the EFCC is investigating him and that if it is true, that the fact that he has been reinstated does not mean a stop to it. That is what I said.
“I am not saying I’m not aware that he was suspended or any investigation is going on.
“The fact that he has been reinstated does not mean that the EFCC will not continue with its investigation, that is what I said.”
The Minister of Communications, Adebayo Shittu also disclosed that federal government had ordered the importation of radio monitoring equipment to jam illegal and unauthorised broadcast in the country.
According to him, the equipment were to be installed in five locations, including Lagos, Ogoja, Azare.
While giving a rundown of projects being executed within his ministry, he said Galaxy Backbone Ltd, a firm contracted by the federal government, was also providing non satellite communication services to Ministries, Department and Agencies (MDAs) across the country.