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Ohakim Canvasses Support For Imo Bond

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Preparatory to the state government’s bond issue expected to hit the market any moment from now, the Imo State Governor, Dr. Ikedi Ohakim has called on stakeholders in the capital market to support the state’s success bid.

Speaking on the trading floor during his visit to the Exchange recently, Ohakim said transparency and accountability have been the guiding principle of the state, adding that these would be brought to bear on the bond issue.

The N18.5 billion bond, which attracts 15.5 per cent fixed rate at 1000 per cent unit with a maturity date of 2016, was recently approved by the council of the Exchange.

Ohakim explained that the proceeds of the bond would be used for three man projects. A sum of N1.303 billion or 7.04 per cent would be used to part-finance the rehabilitation of water scheme; N3.772 billion, representing 20.39 per cent of the offer proceed, would go into the rehabilitation and construction of critical roads while the remaining N12.5 billon, representing 67.75 per cent of the proceeds, would be spent on financing the state government’s equity investment in Imo Wonder Lake and Conference Centre, Oguta, respectively.

“We are moving into the second stage of our development, which is total industrialization and provision of infrastructure, we have started the construction of a boulevard to connect 19 out of 29 local governments and connecting 36 important markets in the state with 13 toll gates”, he said.

The issuing houses to the offer are BGL Securities Limited, UBA Capital (Africa) Limited, Future View Financial services Limited, and Stanbic IBTC Bank Plc.

Meanwhile, dealing members on the floor, in response to the governor’s presentation, expressed support for the issue, saying it was a good omen for the market, the doyen of stock brokers, Mr. Olu Odejimi, said the brokers would always support any good cause in the market. He, however, urged the state government to ensure transparency in the issue.

Recall that the council of the Exchange recently approved bond applications from states running into N58 billion. Apart from Lagos State which is currently raising the second tranche of its bond, applications from Kano, Imo, Niger, and Kwara have been approved, including the controversial Ogun State’s board.

Disclosing this recently, the president of the Nigerian Stock Exchange, Oba Otudeko, said the council of the Exchange had approved 18 new issue applications from governments and individual companies. According to him, Kano state Government would be raising N17 billion, Imo N18 billion, Niger N16 billion, and Kwara N17 billion.

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Cocoa Tops List Of Exportable Agric Products

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The Nigeria Export Promotion Council (NEPC) says its export promotion activities are beginning to make a positive impact, considering the rise in export revenue in the first six months of the year.
The council described the export figure in the period as the highest ever, saying cocoa topped the list of exportable agricultural products.
An assistant director, Product Development, NEPC, Afolabi Bello, said this at a training programme for farmers held last Friday at Ila, Osun State.
The programme was meant to train farmers on how to adopt best practices in cocoa bean processing and packaging for export.
Bello said the country could further improve on the revenue from non-oil exports by improving the quality of the exportable products from the country, thereby reducing rejection at the international market.
“Based on the figures released by the National Bureau of Statistics, cocoa was even the number-one exportable agricultural product. We are seeing the impact of export promotional activities but we can do better because there are still some gaps and challenges”, he said.
Fakeye, who was represented by Dr Ifeoluwa Arowosoge, explained that the programme was a follow-up to the one held three months ago, adding that the training would centre on the best way to process cocoa for export.
He said the participants would receive spraying machine and chemicals.
About 70 cocoa farmers, drawn from the 31 wards in the constituency, participated in the workshop.

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Nigeria Air: FG To Float IPO, Begins Operations With Three Planes

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The Federal Government has announced that beginning from this week, it would start sending out Request for Proposals to investors interested in owning shares in the proposed national carrier.
It also expressed hope that the carrier, Nigeria Air, would be quoted on the stock exchange, adding that Nigerians would be allowed to buy shares in the airline that was being planned to commence operations with three leased aircrafts.
The Minister of Aviation, Hadi Sirka, disclosed this at a briefing in Abuja, last Thursday, when he explained that 46 per cent stake in the airline was exclusively for Nigerians, five per cent for government, while 49 per cent was for strategic equity partners, which were assumed to be foreign investors.
Sirika said discussions with prospective investors had been ongoing and that Request for Proposals would be sent out this week.
He said, “We will release what is called Request for Proposals very soon, I believe next week (this week). And this Request for Proposals will describe what and what we are asking for.
“You will now go and send us a document that you are proposing to partner us and this is what you are giving us. Then we will sit down, evaluate, discuss and choose a strategic partner or partners for this airline.
“So Request for Proposals are going out next week and by the grace of God we will continue to pursue that and people will show up”.
Responding to a question on how the 46 per cent stake to be owned by Nigerians would be acquired, Sirika said, “It will be purchased exactly the way you buy shares in every company.
“This is because Nigeria Air is a limited liability company for now, registered under the law of the land and structured in a PPP (public private partnership) manner.
“So you purchase it the same way you purchase shares in any company and later it is our hope that it will be listed and go through IPO (Initial Public Offering) and so on”.
The minister explained that the airline would start operations with three wet-leased aircraft, as it would take about three to five years to take delivery of an aircraft that was ordered for.
“They will start with wet-leased aircraft and that’s how 90 per cent of airlines in the world would have started. So they will start with a wet-lease of three aircraft and then continue to expand, place orders and then get deliveries,” he stated.
Sirika further emphasised that the Federal Government would not have any control in Nigeria Air, rather investors in the carrier would run the business.
He stated that the Maintenance, Repair and Overhaul facility for the carrier and others would begin in Abuja next year.
Sirika said, “On the Maintenance, Repair and Overhaul facility, it will be started in Abuja and government has given 12,000 hectares of land in Abuja for the development of Abuja airport.
“In that 12,000 hectares of land, which all of it is a free zone, there will be the MRO facility, a second runway, new terminal building and various businesses. It is going to be a whole airport city”.
He said partners for the MRO had been approached and once approved by the Federal Executive Council, work would start in April 2022, adding that the facility would save Nigeria millions of dollars when operational.
The Transaction Adviser to the government for the national carrier, Capt. Tilmann Gabriel, said efforts were ongoing to get the airlines certified.
“A lot of work has been done and it did not start today, rather it started three years ago. An AOC (Air Operator Certificate) is to be applied for in the next couple of days from the NCAA, which is the regulatory authority”, he stated.

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LCCI Urges FG To Invest In Transport Infrastructure

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The Lagos Chamber of Commerce and Industry (LCCI) has urged the Federal Government to invest in transport infrastructure to ease the pressures on citizens when the subsidy on Premium Motor Spirit (petrol) is removed.
The President, LCCI, Mrs Toki Mabogunje, gave the advice during her welcome remarks at the virtual presidential policy dialogue session, last Friday.
The Federal Government had announced that petrol subsidy would be finally removed by July 2022, and that it would give a transport grant of N5,000 each to between 30 million and 40 million most vulnerable Nigerians for a duration of 12 months.
Mabogunje said, “We are delighted to hear about the proposed removal of fuel subsidy after a long-drawn delay. Beyond the fundamentals that have formed the basis of arguments by major stakeholders, we recommend a corresponding investment in transport infrastructure to ease movement, create more transport choices, and thereby reduce the cost of transportation and logistics.
“Secondly, on the subsidy removal, the estimation of investment in palliatives should be compared with investment in transport infrastructure and see which impacts more on the masses”.
Mabogunje also urged the federal and state governments to build the capacity of both the public and private sectors in understanding the opportunities in the Africa Continental Free Trade Agreement to explore Nigeria’s local comparative advantage within the free area.
“We expect states to start the development of their statewide strategies on exploring the terms of the agreement. The government should also speed up the establishment of proposed Special Economic Zones and industrial hubs to support production for the export markets”, she added.

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