Lagos: Ambode boosts states economy by signing N47 billion bond

The Lagos State Government has announced the closing of its N47 billion 16.5 per cent 2023 Series 1 Bond Issuance under the N500 billion Third Debt Issuance Programme, which is targeted at improving physical and social infrastructure base in the State.

At the signing ceremony held at the Lagos House, Ikeja on Friday, Governor Akinwunmi Ambode said that despite the continued challenges in the economy and difficult market conditions which have seen the last three Federal Government Bond auctions undersubscribed by an average 32 per cent, Lagos State sold some 80 per cent of the bonds it offered at a 57bps spread to the sovereign.

He expressed appreciation for the confidence investors have reposed in the State Government, saying that it was an eloquent testimony of the government’s credit worthiness.

He said: “We are truly humbled by the confidence investors have once again demonstrated in the Lagos State credit story. The state government remains committed to improving the physical and social infrastructure base of the state and proud of its reputation as a most responsible issuer in the Nigerian capital markets”.

The governor also acknowledged the support received in the issuance process from the Minister of Finance, Mrs. Kemi Adeosun, as well as the Attorney General of the Federation and Minister for Justice, Mr. Abubakar Mallami and their teams, the Security and Exchange Commission, the Federal Debt Management Office and the state’s advisers.

On his part, Chief Executive Officer, Chapel Hill Denham, Financial Advisers and Lead Book Runners, Mr. Bolaji Balogun said Lagos State was leading from the front in the issuance of Bond despite the prevailing market dynamics.

“We are deeply honoured to work with the Lagos State Government, which has again affirmed its peerless credit reputation in tricky market conditions right at the end of the year to issue the only bond by a State in Nigeria, in 2016 and I thank all of our colleagues in the issuing party for working with us to deliver a successful outcome,” Balogun said.

It would be recalled that the state government had registered a N500 billion Third Debt Issuance Programme and has a credit rating of A+ by Global Credit Ratings Co. and Agusto & Co.

The Bond, whose Book Keeping was concluded on Friday, December 23, 2016 with the first issuance priced at 16.5 per cent, will mature in December 2023.

Lagos Targets 900,000 Jobs By 2019

Meanwhile, the Lagos State Employment Trust Fund (LSETF) yesterday distributed offer letters to some of the beneficiaries of the pilot scheme of the N25 billion Employment Trust Fund (ETF), with a pledge to create at least 300,000 direct and 600, 000 indirect jobs by 2019 through the initiative.

Speaking at the distribution ceremony, Executive Secretary of LSETF, Mr. Akin Oyebode said the award of the offer letters was in fulfillment of one of the cardinal promises of the Ambode-led administration to set up a fund to drive the growth of the Micro, Small and Medium Enterprises (MSMEs) in recognition of their critical role as the engine of growth and leading creator of jobs in any economy.

Oyebode, who said the award of the offer letters was also an eloquent testimony of the readiness of the state’s government to support the thriving youths and residents of the State, said a total of 1,000 MSMEs have been earmarked to benefit from the pilot scheme, out of which 281 micro enterprises have so far been approved.

He said out of those approved, 150 beneficiaries had collected their offer letters, while the process for approval for others in the pilot scheme is ongoing.

To ensure transparency and unbiased process, Oyebode said the LSETF engaged partners to help with the selection, verification and disbursement of the loans to beneficiaries.

He added that application process was still ongoing and that once completed, a full list of beneficiaries would be made available to the public.

While disclosing details of the loan, Oyebode said the beneficiaries of the micro enterprise pilot scheme were given loan approval ranging from N300,000 to N500,000, with an annual five per cent interest rate, which is the lowest anywhere in the country.

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