BY Christian Ochiama, Abuja
Nigeria has successfully issued her first diaspora bond in the international capital market and has raised $300 million in the process at the rate of 5.625 per cent for a tenor of five years.
The oversubscribed bond generated considerable interest from investors from all over the world, with the issuance attracting initial orders of about 190 per cent of the offered amount, with final subscriptions of about 130 per cent of offer at the final price for the transaction.
The diaspora bond issued yesterday under a very restrictive United States retail market was targeted principally at the Nigerian Diaspora to provide them with an opportunity to contribute to national development.
The Minister of Finance, Mrs Kemi Adeosun, delegated the director general of Debt Management Office (DMO), Dr Abraham Nwankwo, to lead the federal government delegation, comprising officers from the ministry of Finance, Central Bank of Nigeria and the Budget office during the prior road show in major financial centres of the world.
Reacting to the success of the issuance, Nwankwo said that the “Bond was structured as a retail instrument to appeal to a wide base of investors and was offered through private banks and wealth managers, rather than the institutional investors that normally deal in large volume transactions”.
The DMO chief also noted that the issuance of a bond registered by the US SEC “provides an opportunity to access a wide range of investors”.
What this entails, he said, was that in addition to this bond, “Nigeria can routinely access funds from private banks and wealth managers in the US and European markets.
“This opportunity is not available to other developing countries that have only issued Eurobonds. To have received the approval of the US SEC indicates that the highest level of transparency and accountability in the economic process has been attained. This should positively impact the country’s credit rating, transparency rating and financial market development index rating”, he added.
The minister of Finance, Mrs Kemi Adeosun, had pointed out that Nigeria was the first African country to issue a bond targeted at retail investors in the United States, a market highly regulated by the United States Securities and Exchange Commission (US SEC).
The only previous US SEC registration for an African country was targeted at institutional investors. Unlike the Eurobond which restricts dealings to only institutional investors to be authorized by US and European regulators to issue a retail product, the Diaspora bond investors can approach wealth managers and private banks without restrictions.
Financial experts have commended Nigeria on the diaspora bond issue which, they aver, has opened a new source of financing for the federal government for funding development projects in the country.
This new window, they emphasise, further enhances the funding liquidity and flexibility of the Nigerian economy, which are necessary characteristics as the country gathers momentum towards the attainment of advanced economy status.
With the successful issuance of the debut diaspora bond, Nigeria will establish a programme for raising funds from Nigerians in Diaspora to provide an avenue for continuous participation in the development of the economy.