Nigeria: Govt Suspends $3.3bn Eurobond Issuance

(file photo).
17 March 2020

The Minister of Finance, Budget and National Planning, Mrs. Zainab Ahmed, on Monday disclosed that the Federal Government had suspended the issuance of the $3.3bn Eurobond in view of the current unfavourable debt market situation.

Specifically, the minister linked the fiscal decision to the negative impacts of the Coronavirus pandemic on the global economy.

Ahmed, gave this hint at the sidelines of the two-day Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) International Conference on the Nigerian Commodities Market which was flagged off in Abuja.

This is even as she disclosed that the National Assembly was yet to approve the Eurobond issuance, pointing out that even if the lawmakers eventually approve, the issuance of the multi-billion dollar Eurobond will not happen now.

She said: "We are in the process of doing that and I can tell you that we are not going out immediately because of the market indication of external borrowing at this time. Even if we get the approval, we will defer it and watch the market and go out only when the time is right"

On the $22.89bn loan request of the Federal Government, she said that the House of Representatives hadn't approve the borrowing plan.

When asked on the plans by government to adjust the budget 2020 figures in view of the current realities. Ahmed declined to give specifics, promising, however, the details will be announced the process of adjustment is completed.

She said: "As soon as we have approvals from the President and the Federal Economic Council and also when we round off our consultation with the parliament" we will make it public she said.

The minister also reiterated the need for all stakeholders in the country to work hard on economic diversification following the vulnerabilities that the Covid-19 has exposed of the nation's economy.

"It is a time to develop a non-oil attitude to anything that we do, it is a time for us to review what we have planned and to prioritize expenditure in favour of major capital expenditure that will have greater impact that will create jobs and visibility and also enhances the ease of doing business in our country."

She also indicated that expenditures that are not critical will not be honoured by the federal government at this time until a later date when the economy becomes normal again.

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