FG set to borrow another N110bn via local bond issue to fund budget

As part of its fiscal funding plans, the Federal Government, through the Debt Management Office, DMO, is set to raise another bond amounting to N110 billion for budgetary deficit funding next week.

The bond issue is coming against the backdrop of an emerging discord between executive and the legislative arms of  government over resort to borrowings for budget funding.

Next week’s bond issue will be the second this year, which in addition to another issue planned for next month, will bring total amount of debt raised in the first quarter of 2017 to N430 billion. Under the debt auction, the DMO said it will issue N45 billion of bonds maturing in 2021, N20 billion of 2026 paper, and N45 billion of bonds due in 2036, using the Dutch auction system.

Settlement for the bonds, all of which are re-openings of previous issues, is expected  Thursday, February 16, 2017. DMO uses monthly sovereign bond sales to support the local debt market, create a benchmark for corporate bonds and fund Federal Government’s budget deficit. The cumulative deficit for 2016 and 2017 is estimated at about N4.1 trillion, a bulk of which would be financed through transactions such as this.

Senate approves $1bn foreign bond Meanwhile, the National Assembly, which appears to be uncomfortable with the Federal Government’s funding policy, yesterday, approved the government’s request to raise $1 billion through a Eurobond sales to help the country finance its budget deficit.

This came against the outstanding and controversial $30 billion external loan request made to the Senate by the Federal Government of which the National Assembly approval had been on the waiting list for over three months . But the Senate, yesterday, described as false, misrepresenting and contradictory statement credited to the Minister of Transportation, Mr Rotimi Amaechi, that the refusal of the National Assembly to approve the request of government for foreign loan to be used as counterpart funding was frustrating the construction of Lagos-Ibadan and Ibadan-Ilorin-Minna-Kano rail lines.

Senate protests Amaechi’s comments on loan approvals The Senate in a statement by the Chairman, Committee on Media and Public Affairs, Senator Aliyu Sabi Abdullahi, asked the former governor of Rivers State to urgently withdraw the statement.

According to the Senate, what the minister said is contradictory to available facts and, therefore, not in tune with the position of the government he is serving. Amaechi was alleged to have made the remarks in Ilorin, Monday, during the North Central Town Hall meeting organised by the Federal Government.

The statement read: “As at today, the only request for approval from the executive for loan was the one dated January 27, 2017 and signed by Acting President, Professor Yemi Osinbajo, seeking a ‘resolution of the National Assembly for the issuance of USD 1 billion EuroBond in the International Capital Market for the funding of the 2016 budget deficit’ and we immediately granted the approval. “Also, in the letter quoted above, the government mentioned the two rail lines cited by the minister as part of the projects for which the EuroBond will be utilised.

So, we cannot understand what the grouse of Mr. Amaechi is. “We view that statement based on false and misinformed premise strongly as a mere attempt to incite the people against the National Assembly.

“The minister should, therefore, withdraw that statement. Furthermore, the National Assembly will take up the matter with the Acting President, Prof. Yemi Osinbajo.”

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