Oniha: FG planning another Sukuk, Eurobond in 2018

Patience Oniha, director general of the Debt Management Office (DMO), says the federal government will issue another Eurobond and Sukuk in 2018.

Speaking in an interview with Bloomberg, Oniha said the federal government might issue a $2.5 billion Eurobond in the first quarter of 2018 to refinance old debts.

This, she said, would complete the planned issuance of $5.5 billion Eurobond proposed in 2017.

In 2017, the federal government had issued a N100 billion Sukuk to finance the construction of 25 economic roads and Eurobonds totalling $3.5 billion to finance budget deficit and refinance old debts.

The Buhari administration taking on more foreign debts to reduce the burden of paying double-digit yields on local currency bonds.

Oniha said the issuance is dependent on market conditions and that the total sum could be raised at once or in tranches.

She said the government also plans to begin talks with JPMorgan about returning to its government bond index for emerging markets.

Nigeria was removed from the index in 2015 because of foreign exchange shortages.

The 2018 budget, which is yet to be passed by the national assembly, has a budget deficit of N2.005 trillion. The federal government has announced that the deficit would be funded by using borrowings.

It also plans to raise N306 billion of the deficit from proceeds of privatisation of some non-oil assets.