…As CBN puts Total outstanding domestic debt at N12.4bn***
The Federal Executive Council (FEC) on Wednesday approved the financing of the Gurara Hydro Power Project II by the Forum on China-Africa Cooperation (FOCAC) to the tune of one billion dollars, just as the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) also on Wednesday, put the country’s outstanding domestic debt, at N12.44 billion as at December 2018.
The Minister of Water Resources, Alhaji Suleiman Adamu disclosed the hydro approval when he briefed State House correspondents at the end of the council’s meeting, which was presided over by President Muhammadu Buhari, stressing that the Gurara II power project has the potential of 360 Megawatts of electricity.
“On the need to explore the potentials of the Gurara II Hydro Power Project, which has the potential of 360 Megawatts of electricity, Council approved for us to take this project to FOCAC for possible financing by the China Exim bank at the cost of about a billion dollars.
He said the Council also approved a revised cost of the project to N5.7 billion for the completion of Nkari Dam in Akwa Ibom State.
He said: “On the need to complete Nkari dam in Akwa Ibom State, we sought approval for a revised estimated total cost of the project and this was approved at about N5.7 billion.’’
He further disclosed that the Council approved the appointment of a consultant for the supervision of Gari Irrigation Project in Kano and Jigawa States, which hitherto abandoned for 17 years.
He also said Cabinet gave approval for the Rise Estimated Total Cost for completion of Ile-Ife dam in Osun State at the cost of N10.4 billion.
“We got approval for the Rise Estimated Total Cost (RETC) for the completion of Ile-Ife dam in Osun State.
“This is a dam project that was started in 2004 and abandoned and we are looking forward to completing it.
“So, Council has approved the RETC in the sum of about N10.4 billion so we hope that with the approval, the contractor will resume on sight and work will be continued, with the hope that it will be completed in 24 months,” the minister stated.
The Minister of Agriculture and Natural Resources, Mr Audu Ogbe, who also briefed the correspondents on the outcome of the meeting, disclosed that the council approved N9.4billion for the purchase of grains which would be stored in Silos across the country.
He said: “We have a memo approved in council for purchase of grains to reinforce the grains reserve.
“Everywhere in the world Silos are owned by government into which they purchase grains at the end of harvest. The average is usually between two and three per cent of all grains grown.
“In this case we have got approval to buy sixty one thousand tons of maize, millet and Sorghum and the purchasing will begin shortly.
“We also informed council of the problem we have with Nigeria grains, especially maize, sesame and groundnut. An infestation called aflatoxin, which the Minister of Health confirmed is a very big threat to the liver and the kidney of most consumers.
“Luckily, IITA has found a product which they produce in large quantities which they now send to Africa for treating the farms, the Silos and the sacks in which we put the grains to eliminate aflatoxin.
“The product which they produce is called afflasafe. We buy the grains, treat the Silos and store the grains in Silos so that if there is emergency anywhere in the country, or there is a shortage, a flood and there is no food, we can draw from what we have in the Silos and distribute to the needy areas in the country.’’
He further explained that his ministry would be purchasing grains grown in the last season.
“First of all at the time of harvest usually around November, December, January, most of the grains we have in this country are not dry enough.
“If you buy and put them in poly bags or dump them in Silos, it begins to gather moles and moles are source of cancer.
“We have pressure from some companies which operate in this country that we should allow them to import maize on the grounds that our maize are not of good quality and we said no you must buy local maize, because we are dealing with the challenge of afterthought”, he said.
The Minister of Power, Works and Housing, Mr Babatunde Fashola, also revealed that the council approved N7.197 billion for inter-change and pedestrian bridge at Abaji in Abuja.
“My ministry presented two memos. One was for the construction of an inter-change and pedestrian bridge at Abaji in Abuja for N7.197 billion to address the perennial problem of accidents in that place which was approved by council.
“The second memorandum was for the procurement of 200,217 meters by Yola Electricity Distribution Company Under the Meter Asset Providers Scheme.
“As you might know, Yola Electricity Distribution Company is the DISCO that was surrendered to by the original holder.
“So it’s under the Federal Government’s management. So they are buying 200,217 meters for consumers under their franchise which covers Adamawa, Borno, Taraba and Yobe States.
“The cost of those meters is N11.208 billion. It is to be funded from the judgment sum that I previously briefed you about two years ago that council approved a compromise from an old meter’s supply dispute since 2003.
“So, that money is in a bank, it has been there, so that is where these meters would be funded from and as consumers pay back the meters as they are supplied, the money goes back into that account.”
In the meantime, the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) on Wednesday said the country’s outstanding domestic debt stood at N12.44 billion as at December 2018.
This was contained in the bank’s 2018 Annual Activity Report released by the Financial Markets Department, CBN, and posted on its Website on Wednesday in Lagos.
The CBN said the figure represented a decrease of N146.35 million or 1.16 per cent when compared to N12.59 billion in 2017.
According to the CBN, the decline was due to the Federal Government’s preference for foreign borrowing to finance its fiscal deficit at attractive rates.
It said, “The debt stock comprised FGN bonds worth N9.13 billion or 73.41 per cent, FGN Saving Bonds worth N10.75 billion or 0.09 per cent, FGN Sukuk worth N200.00 billion or 1.61 per cent.
“FGN Green Bonds worth N10.69 billion or 0.09 per cent, FGN Special Bonds worth N200.54 billion or 1.61 per cent, and NTBs worth N2,735.97 billion or 21.99 per cent.”
The regulator also said the country’s outstanding treasury bonds worth N150.99 billion constituted the remaining 1.21 per cent.
The bank added that the cost of servicing the debt grew by 23.65 per cent to N1.8 billion, compared to N1.46 billion at the end of 2017.
It said, “The increase in the cost of debt servicing in 2018 was attributable to the coupon payments of new instruments such as FGN Sukuk, Green bonds and FGN Savings.”