By; BALA B. BITRUS, Minna
Niger State Government has gone to the capital market to secure a N21.5 billion Sukuk bond to execute six development projects in the the state in the next two years.
The Commissioner for Finance in the state, Zakari Abubakar said on Monday while briefing newsmen at a media briefing held at the Government House, that the bond which attracts a 17% interest, is “for infrastructure development in the state”.
He defended the taking of the bond despite backlog of unpaid balances from similar facilities and explained that the bond which would be released in two trenches, would enable the state execute the founding of projects that are of immense benefits to the generality of the citizenry in the state.
Commissioner Zakari Abubakar further assured that the bond when released, would jump start facility development and provision of basic aminities.
He further stated that the projects listed as priority projects, are to be carried out in phases with the first phase of N12.5 billion from the sukuk bond which would be used on projects that are expected to be started this year while the second phase of the projects which are slated for 2019, would gulp N9 billion.
He assured that the bond facility which has a 7 year repayment period plan, would be exclusively meant for the purpose for which it was secured for.
The Commissioner listed the Minna township roads and the construction and rehabilitation of Kontagora General Hospital as projects captured to be executed in the first phase of the infrastructural development projects to be financed from the bond proceeds.
He said the second phase of the project will be the construction of the Mariga International Ultra Modern Market, the rehabilitation of Kontagora Water Treatment Plant, the construction of Suleja Trailer Park and the development of Niger State Mining Development City.
The Commissioner said 70 percent of the projects to be carried out were revenue yielding adding that the projects, when completed, would greatly improve the socio-economic base of the state, provide access to clean water, guarantee improvement in the healthcare delivery system of the state as well as support to healthcare training needs.
The Commissioner however noted that though the state still has N8.1 billion outstanding debt to be settled from the N21billion bond taken by the immediate past administration of Dr. Mu’azu Babangida Aliyu, the present administration in the state was going ahead to enter into another bond notwithstanding the burden of debt on the state.
He gave the breakdown of the debt profile of the state to include the N2.1 billion outstanding from a N9 billion bond while another N5.4 billion is outstanding as balance payment to be made for a N12 billion bond.
He added however that the two outstanding payments from the previous bonds have been rescheduled for repayment by December 2021.
The snag however is that the state is being tied to multiple debts which is tying the future of the state to financial institutions, creditirs and capital markets.
Governor Sani Bello had last week wrote to the state House of Assembly seeking for it’s understanding for him to source for the N21.5 billion Sukuk bond.