February 17, 2012
The Minister of Finance and coordinating minister for the economy, Mrs. Ngozi Okojo-Iweala, has said that the country is unlikely to issue a fresh Eurobond until 2013 at the earliest.
Okonjo-Iweala said the government might begin considering its Eurobond plans in the latter part of this year, adding that preparation would take some time.
“We know there’s appetite for Nigerian bonds. We are letting people know we are cognisant of creating a yield curve,” she told IFR during an interview on Thursday.
The Federal Government inaugurated its debut international bond through a US$500m, 10-year transaction in January 2011.
She noted that the government would continue to tap the domestic market as well as seek funds through loans with multilateral agencies and other countries, most notably China.
President Goodluck Jonathan has urged the National Assembly to approve US$7.9bn in loans to fund pipeline projects between 2012 and 2014.
These loans would be provided by the World Bank, Exim Bank of China, African Development Bank and others.
Some analysts have become uneasy about Nigeria’s prospects because of security risks and doubts about the government’s ability to implement reforms. Terrorist attacks in recent months near Abuja and in Kano have cast a shadow over the country’s progress.
At the same time, the government’s bumbling attempt to remove fuel subsidies had sparked a strike after prices doubled, which forced government to partly restore it.
Okonjo-Iweala, however, said, “I disagree with these analysts (who are downgrading forecasts). They always try to talk down Nigerian growth.”
She said the economy should grow between seven per cent and eight per cent this year, which would be similar to last year’s 7.6 per cent.
She added the government remained committed to phasing out fuel subsidies.