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FEC okays $2.5 billion external borrowing for refinancing

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The Federal Executive Council (FEC) on Wednesday approved USD2.5 billion Eurobond external borrowing for refinancing.

The Minister of Finance, Kemi Adeosun, disclosed this to State House correspondents at the end of FEC meeting chaired by President Muhammadu Buhari at the Presidential Villa, Abuja.

On the potential savings on the proposed USD2.5 billion refinancing, she said that the estimated proceeds of N762.5 billion will be used to redeem Nigerian Treasury Bills (NTB).

She said “At estimated current NTB rates of 15% (following mop-up operations by the CBN), the savings from the refinancing of N762.5 billion of Domestic Debt using external capital raising is about N64 billion per annum.”

On the impact of the use of the proceeds of the USD500 million issued in November 2017, she said “The proceeds about N162.50 billion were used to redeem NTBs which matured in December 2017.

“The immediate impact was a significant drop in the Bid Rates at the Auctions of both NTBs and FGN Bonds. In December 2017 and January 2018:

“NTBs dropped from about 16% to 13%. FGN Bonds dropped from about 16-16.50% to 13.50%

“This translates to savings for Government on new borrowing while also making the cost of borrowing for the real sector cheaper since the sovereign rate serves as a benchmark for other borrowers,” she added.

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How GIS Aided EEDC in Mapping Electricity Network in S/East

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The Enugu Electricity Distribution Company (EEDC) says it has recently mapped the entire electricity network in South-East using Geographic Information System (GIS) to improve its operations.

The Manager of GIS in EEDC, Mr Uche Anyalewechi, said this on Saturday while speaking on activities by the EEDC to commemorate this year’s edition of GIS Day.

The GIS Day, observed every Nov. 14, is an annual event to celebrate the technology of Geographic Information System and its enormous benefits to modern development and science.

The theme for this year’s GIS Day at EEDC is: “Driving Efficiency in Power Distribution through GIS.”

Anyalewechi, therefore, explained how the company was taking advantage of the GIS technology to improve the reach of network within its service areas.

He said that “with the aid of GIS technology, we have efficiently mapped our entire electrical network system, updated our customer database and captured all electrical assets within our network with each part of the infrastructure registered on the map.

“The project is expected to improve decision making in the organisation’s operations.”

The manager recalled that EEDC commenced the GIS project early last year and the effort had attracted commendation from National Electricity Regulation Commission (NERC), noting that the commission described it as “benchmark which other Discos will be required to emulate.”

He explained that “the GIS project, which is of immense benefit to both EEDC and its customers, also aimed at facilitating comprehensive metering of electricity customers and for easy identification of electrical assets and their state.

“The project will also help in identification of existing customers and make adequate planning for potential customers and network expansion.

“Others benefits include: improved power supply and quick response to faults; effective power distribution and monitoring through remote sensing; prompt identification of damaged and non-functional equipment for replacement, as well as improved customer service delivery.”

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AFDB Approves $40m Infrastructure Fund

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The Board of Directors of the African Development Bank (AfDB) has approved its third equity investment of $40 million in Africa Infrastructure Investment Fund (AIIF3).

AIIF3 is a closed-ended pan-African infrastructure fund managed by South Africa-based Africa Infrastructure Investment Managers (AIIM).

AIIM is one of Africa’s most experienced infrastructure fund managers.

The Fund will focus on acquiring positions of significant influence on roads, airports, rail links, bridges, ports, logistics, power generation, utility distribution, as well as telecommunication assets.

AIIF3 boasts an extensive pipeline of bankable or near-bankable infrastructure projects.

Having reviewed hundreds of potential investments, AIIM has narrowed down a pipeline of circa $ 500 million, including key projects such as Bugesera Airport, Libreville Bypass, and Kampala-Jinja Expressway.

The proposal represents the Bank’s third investment with this fund manager, following a 1996 investment in SAIF and a 2010 investment in AIIF2.

With this, the African Development Bank stands to have a positive additional role through this investment, given that the fundraising market continues to be very challenging, leaving an important role to be played by DFIs.

Commercial and institutional investors are likely to view the Bank’s investment as a positive demonstration effect.

The Bank’s investment will also ensure the highest environmental and social standards are applied to AIIF3.

In terms of development outcomes, AIIF3 will create a quantifiable and measurable social and environmental impact by supporting energy and transport infrastructure access across Sub-Saharan Africa.

The Fund will support the creation of over 1,500 jobs at the project level and enhance capacity building and skills transfer.

In his presentation to the Board, the Bank Group’s Director of Infrastructure and Urban Development, Amadou Oumarou, said that private equity in Africa remains a nascent sector.

“The recent downturn in global commodity prices and a reorientation away from private equity in Africa by a few DFIs have lowered fundraising expectations across the board.

“This is negatively affecting the availability of equity capital for Africa’s infrastructure space. In this sense, the Bank would play a counter-cyclical role through this investment,” he said.

AIIF is Africa-based and features five regional offices in South Africa, Nigeria, Cote d’Ivoire, and Kenya. This translates to on-the-ground knowledge and strong relationships to source infrastructure investment opportunities.

This Equity Investment is fully aligned with the Bank’s operational priorities and the High 5s, particularly ‘Industrialize Africa,’ ‘Light up and Power Africa,’ and ‘Integrate Africa’. It will sustain the development of Africa’s infrastructure market.

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Brent Crude Slips To $65

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It is certainly not cheering news for oil exporters such as Nigeria as Brent crude oil prices extended a steep slide on Wednesday on the back of worries about weakening world demand and oversupply.

Brent crude, the type that Nigeria majorly exports was down 0.35 percent at $65.24 per barrel.

Brent crude price had tanked 6.8 percent on Tuesday and set an eight-month trough of $64.61.

U.S. West Texas Intermediate (WTI) crude futures dived 7 percent the previous day, suffering their biggest one-day loss in more than three years. The contracts last stood at $55.30 per barrel CLc1 for a loss of 0.7 percent, following a descent to a one-year low of $54.75 overnight.

Brent had soared to a four-year high of $86.74 early in October as the market braced for U.S. sanctions on Iran, but prices have sunk roughly 25 percent since then.

Concerns about global growth pushed MSCI’s broadest index of Asia-Pacific shares outside Japan down 0.5 percent.

Hong Kong’s Hang Seng .HSI dropped 0.55 percent and the Shanghai Composite Index .SSEC retreated 0.9 percent.

Australian stocks fell 1.75 percent, South Korea’s KOSPI lost 0.3 percent and Japan’s Nikkei rose 0.16 percent.

Spreadbetters expected European stocks to open lower, with Britain’s FTSE losing 0.4 percent, Germany’s DAX slipping 0.3 percent and France’s CAC shedding 0.5 percent.

The Dow and S&P 500 ended slightly lower on Tuesday as lower oil prices took a toll on energy shares, offsetting a small gain in technology stocks and renewed hopes for progress in U.S.-China trade talks.

“While the plunge in WTI will no doubt act as a relief for emerging markets and the global consumer, U.S. real rates continue to climb, underwriting the dollar’s strength,” wrote Sean Darby, chief global equity strategist at Jefferies.

“The competition for capital is coinciding with a sharp slowdown in China and emerging markets, putting pressure on 2019 earnings.”

Riskier assets have come under strong selling pressure over the past two months as worries about a peak in earnings growth added to international trade tensions and signs of slowing in global investment and growth.

The oil plunge underlined cracks in the global economy. In Japan, data confirmed the world’s third-largest economy contracted in the third quarter, adding to growing signs of weakness globally, with China and Europe losing momentum. Germany is expected to report later in the day that its economy also shrank last quarter.

“The markets would have reacted more positively to U.S.-China trade and Brexit-related headlines a few months ago,” said Makoto Noji, chief currency and foreign bond strategist at SMBC Nikko Securities in Tokyo.

“But currently there is more focus on the possibility of both the U.S. and Chinese leaders maintaining their tough stance, with a compromise eluding them, and Brexit bogging down. Market sentiment is clearly cooling down.”

The United Kingdom and European Union agreed on the text for a Brexit divorce deal on Tuesday. Prime Minister Theresa May will present the draft withdrawal agreement to her senior ministers on Wednesday for discussion and then decide on the next steps.

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