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In a bid to sustain funding of road projects across the country, the Federal Government through the Debt Management Office (DMO) has announced the sale of second tranche 7-year N100 billion sovereign sukuk.

Sukuk or Islamic Bond is a financial instrument structured to generate returns to ethical investors without infringing on the Islamic law which forbids interest payments.

The bond offer, which opened on 6th expected to close on December 17, 2018, is aimed at funding road infrastructure across the six geo-political zones, is payable semi-annually for 7 years and is at a rental rate of 15.74 per cent to be due in 2025.

Speaking at the sovereign sukuk public offer-investor forum in Lagos, Director General, DMO, Patience Oniha, said the success of the first N100 billion sukuk bond launched in 2017 was achieved based on the fact that the Nigerian financial market as well as its investors are getting more sophisticated and interested in new things, while calling for more participation on the part of the private sector.

“The success of the issuance of the first N100 billion sukuk bond shows that the current administration is currently working round the clock to revamp the economy,” she said.

“The government is still spending a lot of capital, though we are not yet in the best place, we are in a good place. We want to see much more enthusiasm from the private sector as well as retail participation, which stood at 5 per cent. Borrowing is still going on but we want to have a stable portfolio but beyond borrowing, funds from the sukuk bonds are strictly for capital projects especially road infrastructure.”

Oniha said debt levels remain moderate, adding that the increasing debt service is being managed by growth in revenue through the government’s efforts in engaging revenue mobilization initiatives aimed at encouraging tax payers to regularize their tax status.

According to her, the 2017 N100 billion sukuk, which was 5.8 per cent over-subscribed, ensured execution of road projects across all regions of the country, affirmed investors’ confidence and created jobs around the country.

She added that the main objective of the second sukuk issue is to sustain the rehabilitation and construction works on 25 key economic roads in the 6-geopolitical zones with 3 roads now added for more reach

Also speaking on the issuance of the Sukuk II offer, Deputy Managing Director, FBNQuest Merchant Bank Limited, Mr. Taiwo Okeowo, said, ‘‘We are happy to be participating in this initiative, which will contribute to narrowing the country’s infrastructure deficit. With the issuance of the first Sukuk offer, we were able champion a robust investment drive – a demonstration of FBNQuest Merchant Bank’s strong distribution capacity.”

Subscribers could purchase N1,000 per unit subject to a minimum subscription of N10,000 and in multiples of N1,000 thereafter with FBNQuest and Islamic wealth manager, Lotus Capital managing the sale.

The DMO said it qualified as securities in which trustees could invest under the Trustee Investment Act and as government securities within the meaning of Company Income Tax Act (CITA) and Personal Income Tax Act (PITA) for Tax Exemption for Pension Funds.

It will also be listed on the Nigerian Stock Exchange (NSE) and on FMDQ Over-The-Counter (OTC) platform and be classified as liquid asset by the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN).

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