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Nigeria to Construct US $10.6m Tower in Lagos

Nigeria is set to construct a mixed-use 14-floor tower in Lagos at an investment cost of US $10m. Managing Director of Cavalli Business and Investment Group, GPP’s parent company, Mr. Emmanuel Odemayowa spoke during the foundation laying ceremony and said that the project has renewed confidence in the nation’s real estate market.

Pacific Lagos

Dubbed the ‘Pacific Lagos’ the development will be located on the strategic Ozumba Mbadiwe Street in Victoria Island. The new high-rise project was in line with the Cavalli Group’s vision of helping to reduce Nigeria’s severe housing deficit through the development of real estate modeled on international standards.

According to Mr. Odemayowa, the tower was modeled on mixed used property developments in some of the world’s leading economies and was designed to provide Nigerians with a “Work, Live and Play” environment “comparable with the best internationally.”

“The Pacific Lagos was the product of many years of research, brainstorming and planning toward building a vertical mixed high-rise structure that would meet the diverse lifestyle needs of its residents in terms of convenience, access to the commercial nerve centres of Lagos and premium facilities.” said Mr. Emmanuel Odemayowa.

The project comprises commercial and residential one and two bedroom apartments as well as penthouse suites and recreational spaces on the 14 floors. The tower has been designed to offer breathtaking views of the Lagos Lagoon and the Atlantic Ocean from its upper floors. It will also be equipped with a suspended mosaic-tiled swimming pool, round-the-clock security and facility management, as well as a recreational floor with gym, spa/massage facilities, game room, shopping mart as well as restaurant and bar.

The projected completion period for the Pacific Lagos is 36 months (2022) and a Director of the Cavalli Group, Mr. Tunde Adaramaja, assured investors that the GPP had financial arrangements to ensure it would meet this target date. The latest data from Nigeria’s National Bureau of Statistics showed that the real estate service sector swung back to positive growth and expected to perform better this year.

Source:  constructionreviewonline

Quantity Surveyors Seek Policies for Social Infrastructure

Except the government restructures the nation’s taxation system, the needed funds for infrastructure projects in all sectors of the economy would remain a mirage, quantity surveyors, under the aegis of Nigerian Institute of Quantity Surveyors (NIQS) have said.

They spoke at the 11th Annual Distinguished Lecture of the Nigerian Institute of Quantity Surveyors, Lagos Chapter, themed: “Challenges of Social Infrastructure Development: The Effects of Executive Order 007, 2019 on Road Infrastructure Development over Key Infrastructure.’’

Leading discussion on the theme, President, Commonwealth Association of Surveying and Land Economy, Mr. Segun Ajanlekoko noted that there is a fundamental problem in the nation’s infrastructure that needed to be addressed.

According to him, since all sectors of the economy require basic infrastructure like road, security, electricity and credit facilities to group, there is need for the restructuring of the nation’s taxation system to serve as catalyst for the provision of needed funds for infrastructure.

To Ajanlekoko, restructuring the tax regime will ensure that greater percentage of the population could pay tax, while the proceeds would be used to provide the needed infrastructure.

He said: “Poverty is written all over the faces of the citizens. Unfortunately, government is not looking at the direction of the people to provide the necessary infrastructure that will boost business activities and enhance their living standards,” he said.

For the President, Nigerian Institute of Quantity Surveyors (NIQS), Mr. Obafemi Onashile, the Federal Government should focus more on development of capital projects as a way of stimulating the economy.

Onashile, who was represented by the Vice-President of the institute, Mr. Olayemi Shonubi said it is through capital project developments that money could flow into the economy.

According to him, government needs to spend to move the economy out of poverty by continually investing in it, particularly in capital projects.

“The nation’s capital expenditure is low when compared with the current expenditure. The high cost of doing business in Nigeria is due to poor infrastructure.

“The fees paid by importers and manufacturers to convey goods to their needed destinations due to poor road network system has made it pertinent that the government pay more attention to infrastructure development, particularly road,” he added.

Also, president, Quantity Surveyors Registration Board of Nigeria (QSRBN), Mallam Murtala Aliyu stressed the need for public private participation in driving infrastructure development.

The keynote speaker and member of the Policy and Regulation Sub-Committee of the Nigeria Industrial Policy and Competitiveness Advisory Counsel, (NIPCAC), Mr. Ajibola Olomola, said the main objective of the Executive Order 007, 2019 was to accelerate road infrastructure development for balanced economic growth in Nigeria.

Olomola, a Partner, in KPMG Nigeria , said this objective would be better achieved by granting approvals to private entities to construct and refurbish eligible roads across the country.

“Under the scheme, companies that are, for instance, disposed to spending their own funds on constructing roads to their factory and business locations, will recover their construction costs by paying reduced taxes, over a period of time.

“Nigerian has made efforts to fix the infrastructure needs, but there is still gap,” he said.

According to him, everyone has a role to play in fixing the infrastructure gap.

Olomola said that Quantity Surveyors should be more proactive in the evaluation and costing of infrastructure projects in the country.

Earlier, chairman of Lagos chapter of NIQS, Mr. Ayuba Akere, stressed the need for more stakeholders’ engagement for full private sector participation in infrastructure development.

According to him, quantity surveyors as cost managers should be critical stakeholders in the execution of infrastructure projects in the country.

Source: GuardianNg

Sanwo-Olu Plans to Restructure, Upgrade More PHCs

Permanent Secretary, Lagos State Primary Health Care Board, Dr. Tayo Lawal has said that the present administration of Governor Babajide Sanwo-Olu will restructure health care delivery in the Primary Health Centres (PHCs), renovate and upgrade existing ones as part of the drive to put confidence in the system and increase access to health care services.

Lawal, who stated this on Wednesday while reviewing the report of the present state of primary health facilities in Lagos reiterated that one of the core policy objectives of the present administration in the health sector was to increase access to health care services through the revitalization of the State’s primary health system.

He said primary healthcare was the bedrock of healthcare service delivery system worldwide, while explaining the planned construction of new PHCs as well as renovation and upgrade existing ones by the present administration.

“Governor Sanwo-Olu is poised to ensuring that the entry point of the State health care system which is the primary health care centres delivers on its mandate of providing quality basic health care services without any barrier whatsoever in line with the State government’s commitment to achieve universal health coverage”, he said.

Lawal, who stated that though the planned revitalization would translate to improved health services at the PHCs, assured that all PHCs in the State had been equipped with the right facilities to provide minimum health care package which included health promotion and education; maternal and child health care services; and treatment of common ailments and diseases.

“The strategies for these will be through Basic Health Care provision fund and sustainable drug revolution fund. The components of Basic Health Care provision fund include Health Insurance Scheme, Emergency Medical Services, provision of essential drugs, equipment, capacity building and community participation”, Lawal said.

He added that the Lagos State Primary Health Care Board would intensify its monitoring of PHCs facilities in order to ensure that they provide quality and efficient health care services.

Lawal said training and capacity building for health workers at the Primary Health Centre would be giving the priority it deserved, stressing that human resource development was pivotal to delivery of quality healthcare services.

“We have continued to train and orientate health workers at our centres, this is in a bid to ensure that clients that patronize our facilities get the best care possible,” he said.

Source: pmnewsnigeria

Lawan: Cost of Infrastructure Projects in Nigeria Highest in the world

Senate President Ahmad Lawan says the cost of executing projects in Nigeria is usually higher than any other country in the world. 

Lawan, who spoke when he hosted Boss Mustapha, secretary to the government of the federation (SGF) in Abuja, faulted the public procurement act which according to him, breeds corruption and slows the speed of project implementation in the country.

TheCable had reported that a 340km standard gauge railway line in Ghana will be constructed at $2.2 billion while the 156km railway line between Lagos and Ibadan in south-west Nigeria will cost the country $2 billion.

While it will cost Ghana $6.5 million per kilometre, Nigeria will spend $13.6 million per kilometer.

The number three citizen said the senate would carry out a “holistic review” of the act to address the loopholes therein, saying it is not the best in the world as it is presently.

“The public procurement in Nigeria as far as I can see is not the best in the world. The public procurement must be reviewed and amended. We must see how we can make it more practical and holistic within the shortest possible time,” Lawan said.

“From the stage of bidding to mobilization, the costing of any government contracts must be uniform in order to avoid imbalances and embarrassment in the processes.

“A situation where about twenty agencies of government buy the same brand of vehicles at grossly different prices is not good.

“Market prices must be determined and adhered strictly to ensure that Nigerians are not shortchanged through abuse of processes or over-invoicing.

“Even the 15% mobilisation fee specifies in the Act by realities on ground is more of demobilising contractors than mobilising them with attendant loopholes for fraudulent practices.”

Lawan said pending when the act will be reviewed, the senate will constitute a procurement committee made up of experts.

He added that a situation where different ministries buy the same property at varying prices must stop.

“Our Public Procurement committee will be a very strong committee this time around. The cost of projects in Nigeria is mostly the highest in the world. We cannot continue like this, not in the face of very scarce resources,” he said.

“So, we are going to insist that the public procurement particularly is considered better than before. If there should be purchase of buses by ten or twenty ministries, the cost must be uniform so that we don’t drag into crisis on what we buy.

“The Procurement Committee when in place will make sure we work towards achieving this set agenda in order to avoid putting the public at a disadvantaged position.”

Source: thecable

8.2m Could Have Lower Mortgage Payments

Mortgage rates are dropping, giving millions of homeowners an opportunity to lower their monthly payments. An estimated 8.2 million borrowers could refinance and potentially lower their monthly payments by at least 75 basis points, estimates Black Knight, a mortgage software and analytics firm. This marks the largest percentage of homeowners who stand to benefit from lower mortgage rates since the end of 2016.

Last week, the average 30-year fixed-rate mortgage reached a two-and-a-half-year low of 3.73%, Freddie Mac reports.

The average borrower stands to save about $266 per month on their mortgage by refinancing, according to Black Knight. About 1.5 million borrowers—or 35% of those who took out their loans last year—could benefit from refinancing, the report notes. Refinancing can lower monthly payments and also provide access to money for homeowners who have substantial home equity. About 44 million borrowers have at least 20% equity in their homes. The average amount available to access is $136,000, Black Knight reports.

Borrowers, however, are being more conservative in tapping into home equity than in years past. About $54 billion was withdrawn in home equity in the first quarter of this year—the lowest amount in four years. Black Knight reports that less than 1% of available equity has been withdrawn.

source: CNBC

Taraba to Benefit from N23b USAID Grant

Facts have emerged on why Taraba State was listed among six other states selected to benefit from the N23 billion United States Agency for International Development (USAID) intervention on Effective Water, Sanitation and Hygiene Services (E-WASH) pilot programme in Nigeria.

Taraba was selected along Imo, Sokoto, Abia, Niger and Delta states as beneficiaries of the $65m USAID intervention in Urban Water, Sanitation and Hygiene Services (WASH) programme aimed at ensuring effective and sustainable provision of Water in the states.

General Manager Taraba State Water Board, Sani Buba Siam, who stated this at a media briefing in Jalingo, noted that the state was chosen for the programme as it has one of the most responsive water boards in the country.

Siam also said that the responsiveness of the state’s water board has equally attracted a multi billion Naira intervention by the African Development Bank (ADB) in water supply to the state.

The E- WASH programme, which he said would be in the form of technical assistance and capacity development, would run for four years beginning from last year.

Source: Guardian.ng

Just in: Fire guts Bayelsa Radio

The Bayelsa State-owned radio station, Bayelsa Radio, has been gutted by fire.

It was gathered that the fire destroyed a critical section of the station, which is located along Azikoro Road, Yenagoa, the state capital.

A source said though no life was lost, the inferno inflicted monumental damage on the station razing the whole studio.

Details shortly….

Pressure Mounts for Recapitalisation, N1.6trn Funding of 11 DisCos

There are rising calls for the capitalisation of the 11 power Distribution Companies (DisCos).

Daily Trust in this exclusive piece dissects the content of a memo that stipulates injecting $4.3 billion (about N1.556 trillion) into DisCos’ networks, and increasing government representatives sitting on the DisCos’ boards.

The document was addressed to the former Minister of Power, Works and Housing, Mr Babatunde Fashola on May 22, 2019 which it was gathered constituted part of his handover note shortly before he left office.

The Transmission Company of Nigeria (TCN) said the DisCos lack revenue collection capacity and that TCN solely relies on them for payment to finance transmission services.

“The DisCos because of their general weak capacity are collectively remitting about 30% of the Market Operator (MO) invoices and have accumulated over N231 billion outstanding due to be paid to TCN as at March 2019.”

It also complained of rising voltage during the rainy season where it alleged that the distribution networks are weak and with the massive loss of energy load due to tripping of several 33 kilovolt (KV) at the slightest weather turbulence or rainfall.

A similar memo was addressed to the minister in January 2019.

It said ‘DisCos’ network is currently in a very weak state and requires significant investment to fix it; this can only be achieved by recapitalising the DisCos.’

TCN at a recent briefing had said it simulated the investment requirement of DisCos which shows they need $4.3 billion (about N3 trillion).

With over eight million registered electricity customers in Nigeria, the company said that figure will help the DisCos to match transmission network expansion that targets 20,000 megawatts (MW) wheeling capacity by 2021. At present, transmission wheeling capacity is at 8,100MW, generation capacity is over 7,500MW while distribution capability is around 5,500MW.

The Managing Director of Mainstream Energy Solutions Ltd (MESL), operators of Kainji and Jebba GenCos, Engr. Lamu Audu had in June joined the call for capitalisation of the DisCos.

“The DisCos should be made to capitalise because there is little investment and the electricity sector is a value chain. If one end is not doing well, it will affect the others.”

How to use $4.3bn funding

The memo said the $4.3bn investment should be used to rehabilitate and upgrade the existing poor distribution network, build new injection substation to cover the 316 unprotected interface the 11 DisCos share with the transmission network.

Out of the 737 total interface where transmission facilities deliver power to distribution facilities, 421 of them have adequate protection but the 316 others have not.

The DisCos should build new feeders and injection substations to take more supply from existing and new transmission substations. The memo which was also sent to the Presidency advocated a tariff from the Nigerian Electricity Regulatory Commission (NERC) to support the capitalisation. “

It is expected that with long term loan with five years moratorium and 10 year repayment period, the tariff will be reasonable because the capital will be used to reduce the Aggregate Technical Commercial and Collection (ATC&C) losses during the moratorium before interest kicks in,” it noted.

The Federal Government should compel NERC to do regular minor reviews and in line with Eligible customer regulation, all agencies that can pay for power should be removed from any the Nigerian Bulk Electricity Trading Plc (NBET).

Other 132kv customers and foreign customers (Niger, Benin and Togo) which were not part of DisCos performance contracts should also be removed.

Process for $4.3bn recapitalisation

Referring to the 2013 privatisation, the memo said it was marred with technical flaws and financial incapacitation of the investors.

To address these mistakes, the federal government which still hold 40 per cent shares in the DisCos must divest and use the $1bn Power Sector Recovery Programme (PSRP) and World Bank loan, and $500 million loan from the French Development Agency (AFD) for its 40% fund. The private investors should bring their equity of 60% recapitalisation fund.

Shareholders agreement of the DisCos should be amended to have proportionate representative of government and the private owners at the Boards, the memo suggested.

Instead of the one Director from BPE representing government, there should be four from government to match the six from the private sector owners.

“The Ministry of Finance Incorporated (MOFI) should also be empowered to represent the government on the Boards of the companies. This will remove the current conflict of interest in which BPE that is managing the performance contract with DisCos and is also representing government on their board,” it said.

Source: Dailytrust

Imo Government Approves State of Emergency on Infrastructure

In response to the State House of Assembly’s request, the Imo State Executive Council has declared a state of emergency on infrastructure.

The Assembly had in a motion recently resolved that the State Government takes steps to declare State of Emergency in all infrastructure in public works and health.

The Deputy Governor, Gerald Irona, who presided over the meeting in a statement reiterated the resolve Chief Emeka Ihedioha led administration to tackle the decay in infrastructure in the state.

The statement made by the Council was contained in a statement signed by Dr. Walter Duru, an aide to the deputy governor.

“The Executive Council also considered reports on the state of infrastructure in Imo, necessitating the resolve to declare a state of emergency on infrastructure in the state.

“Among the areas considered for immediate intervention are: the poor state of roads in the state, the flooding challenge, particularly, within the state capital, among others.” It added.

They include, Otamiri, which has been in state of disrepair for eight years the flyovers, tunnel at Imo Concorde Road, among others.

Irona also revealed some of the roads and other infrastructure considered for immediate attention to include, the Federal Polytechnic, Nekede-Ihiagwa-Obinze road, Assumpta- Control Post axis, Mgbidi-Oguta road, MCC-Toronto junction, Aba Bridge-Mbaise road, among others.

Consequently, the council also approved the sum of N49,845.00 million for the rehabilitation of the Otamiri Water Scheme, which supplies water to Owerri residents and environs.

“The approval followed a recommendation by the Management of Imo Water Corporation, considered by the State Executive Council.

He assured stakeholders that the state Government would monitor the rehabilitation process, with a view to ensuring that it is done according to specifications.

“He explained that the project will be executed through direct labour, while the approved funds shall be released in tranches.

Source: guardianng

How NSIA is Driving Infrastructural Development Projects.

The Nigeria Soverign Investment Agency (NSIA) is determined to explore investment opportunities in the country and beyond  to ensure that they benefit from its mandate. With investments spread across oil and gas, agriculture, power, among others, NSIA appears set to guarantee returns on investments for its subscribers. In this interview with reporters, NSIA’s Managing Director/CEO Uche Orji talks of the prospects and challenges of the Authority, saying while the agency is keen on investing, it is weary of making wrong investment decisions. Group Business Editor SIMEON EBULU was there.

Can you take us through last year’s operations of the NSIA?

We had a successful 2018 by some methods, but I think we could have done better in certain aspects. It was our sixth straight year of profitability, but it was the first year when we invested aggressively in things like the infrastructure fund and we have started to see some of the benefits of the infrastructure fund. That is important because Infrastructure Fund takes time before to yield returns. So, you are building the Lagos-Ibadan Expressway and the Second Niger Bridge, it would take a while before it starts yielding returns. As we start to make aggressive investments in infrastructure, you are going to see less capital available for us to invest in markets. So, it is important that we replenish that through further contributions, to maintain the pace of profitability in NSIA. Having said that, 2018 was our six straight year of profit. If you take out forex translation gains, we made profit of $87 million (or N28.45 billion), using an exchange rate of N325/$1 for 2018. The shift towards infrastructure and direct investments in Nigeria means it will take longer for returns to start incubating. But if you include forex translations, 2017-2018, went from $22 billion to $46 billion. So, generally, it was a positive year. By the end of the year, Assets Under Management was about $1.9 billion.

In addition, we also had third party funds like the Presidential Infrastructure Development Fund (PIDF)- a fund created by the President with $650 million. It is not part of our assets. That fund is what we are using to drive the Lagos-Ibadan Expressway, Second Niger Bridge, Abuja-Kano highway and soon, the East-West Road and the Mambilla Power. So, that is exclusive of the N617 billion that we have. In 2018, the returns break down were as follows: We made 11.5 per cent in our Stabilisation Fund, the Future Generation Fund about 3.3 per cent, because the global market was down a lot in 2018 and it affected returns; and the Infrastructure Fund was up 13.8 per cent. For Infrastructure Fund, the 13.8 per cent is actually the investments we are making in markets, with the cash, not the actual infrastructure, because those ones have not started yielding returns yet.

So, the three funds that we run are the Stabilisation Fund, the Future Generation Fund and the Infrastructure Fund. We have commenced construction on our three healthcare projects. Lagos University Teaching Hospital (LUTH) is completed and operational, for Kano and Umuahia, the construction has been done and we are hiring people soon.

What was the performance of the Future Generation Fund (FGF) in 2018 and possibly since inception?

For the FGF, last year we did 13 per cent and the year before it was 11.5 per cent. That is the growth rate of the FGF. But I can’t give you the annualised performance over the past five years. Not as aggressive as I would like it to be; I will explain why. We have a very conservative assets allocation strategy. If you look at our FGF, we only put 25 per cent in public equities. Our peers like the Norwegian Sovereign Fund put 65 per cent in public equities. So, if you want to be aggressive to make money, you put a lot more funds in public equities. Having said that, because of the volatility last year for example, we had a very bad year because the market was down and they ended up in dollar terms losing more because of their aggressive strategy. My biggest problem with the NSIA when we started was that I just couldn’t take the risk of losing money. So, we were a bit more conservative. If you lost money within the first two years of your existence, the National Assembly would raise some issues and may even tell you to give them back the money; so we were a bit more careful. But I think as we get more comfortable, we try to enhance our investment strategy and, hopefully by then, we would have built up enough means of returns and if we had a bad year, we can explain to Nigerians that we had a bad year. If you remember last year, the S & P 500 was done by an additional five per cent. It is not something I am very proud of and I wish we could have done better.

Is the Presidential Fertiliser Initiative (PFI) a social programme?

Fertiliser started as subsidy to support the government, with a view to not losing money and, if possible, to make money. Subsidies in fertilisers before the PFI started was as high as N60 billion a year. In the last two years, the subsidy has come down to N8.6 billion for two years. So, we have roughly N4.3 billion a year, from N60 billion a year and there were no shortages. Now, if you do that and it translates to money that eventually comes to the NSIA, it is value for us. Secondly, it is a programme that has a timeline. At a point, it is going to stop. But the real value addition here is that we have gone from importing 100 per cent fully blended fertiliser to importing only 35 per cent of the materials, while 65 per cent is  domestic. Blending plants that were dead or moribund are up and running, from four that were operational when we started, to 22 now, all hiring people. So, that has supported the economy and I am hoping that we would be in a position where we can earn some fees from the work that was done.

Just think about the fact that it used to be N60 billion of subsidy, but it is about N4 billion. Even with the N60 billion, there were shortages in fertiliser, but today, local manufacturing has gone even higher. And today, the foreign exchange requirement has gone down by about $150 million yearly. These are all value to the country.

How can more funds be committed to the Sovereign Wealth Fund (SWF?

What worries me is that we need to get money into the fund. It is extremely important to us because if you end up investing all our infrastructure funds, which tends to takes about five years to earn a real return, you might run out of capital and you have your margins squeezed. That is because the cost of running infrastructure is very high. Recently, we started hiring for both Umuahia and Kano. Both places would hire at least 40 people; the  LUTH will also hire about 40 people. These are costs and it would still take time before they start earning revenue. The Norway story is one that I like to tell all the time. The reason is because in one of my earliest jobs in 1998, the team I worked for was one of those that managed the Norwegian SWF’s assets. They started in 1993 with $10 billion and to see them now at over $1 trillion speaks to the power of consistent contributions. In 2013, it was reported that the Norwegians were putting in $1 billion a week into that fund. So, it doesn’t really matter how much you start with, what matters is how consistent you are. So, I think if there is one thing we need to do as a people and if we need to be serious about this, there must be consistent contribution. But those who have watched us closely would have seen us move from being fought by the governors; being fought by various others, to now be working well together. We are working well with the governors and the National Assembly. I am hoping that the NSIA has become something that they have all come to accept that it is necessary, it is important and should be funded. I think the bigger question we have is whether we have enough revenue as a country to be able to fund an institution like this. I am hoping that we do if oil price continues to go up and we continue to invest in the oil sector and get our production up; get the right type of production, because all those factors are very important.

For your infrastructure fund, beyond what government is doing are you looking at partnering private sector firms to get more funds to invest?

There are three pillars of our strategy for infrastructure. The first is, we invest our funds directly; the second is, the co-investment strategy; and there is a lot going on there. An example is the co-investment fund we set up with UFF and Old Mutual and it started with $200 million. For that, our full commitment would be not more than $50 million. They would bring their money while we bring other people’s money. The same thing was what happened with InfraCredit, where we put $25 million and brought in other people’s money to make it about $200 million. So, we continue to have co-investment as a strategy. If you look at the PIDF, there is government money, there is NSIA money and there is the third party fund we are going to raise. It is a combination of debt and equity to complete the PIDF project, the Second Niger Bridge and the Lagos-Ibadan expressway. So, we have a strategy to raise funds from other people to co-invest with us in our projects. Now, it is not so easy to develop this co-investment strategy.

If you remember we announced one for real estate, which hasn’t happened. Soon after we announced that fund, the forex crisis in Nigeria started, when we went from N196/$ to N306/$ and at a point even fell much lower than that. So, that affects that fund’s take-off. So, we are balancing the risk of convincing people that Nigeria is investible. So far, we have had two successes and one failure and I am hoping that we learn from the successes and build on the failure to do more of this. So, the strategy we have set up is that we would have other people co-invest with us. For instance, the three healthcare projects we have done, we put our own money. As I speak, I am very confident because we have another pipeline of about 11 more projects in healthcare, we have had commitments totalling over $200 million of people that want to invest in us. So, we can’t solve all of these by ourselves. The strategy we have is that for every $1 we invest in infrastructure, we attract $4 from external parties. But for the NSIA to do that successfully, the NSIA needs to be consistent in its performance and Nigerians, including the National Assembly need to have confidence in the NSIA. I think we are on the way to doing that and we continue to work to build that confidence.

One of the most consistent supporters who have been on the standby to invest in the Second Niger Bridge is the Islamic Development Bank. Same time, we are engaged with the EU Commission, the DFID, and all of these people. So, we have built a significant platform and level of interest and support from various people that makes us very comfortable and happy. We did make an investment in gas, in conjunction with the IFC and Seven Energy to do gas infrastructure and help them get Calabar to operate. So, power in that area has improved significantly. That investment also fell on hard times. It fell on hard times because as we speak, not one bill has been paid for. So, there are funding issues in the power sector that needs to be addressed fundamentally. We have invested in renewable energy and solar. Mambilla would start, at the moment it is a $5.7 billion project. The due diligence required is going to take a lot of time and we are actively doing the due diligence. But don’t forget that Mambilla is primarily a project of the Ministry of Power; we are there as financing partners of the project, but for us to invest in it we have to be very comfortable that we would get our returns.

We have invested in gas-to-power, renewables, solar and hydro, but there is still a fundamental issue in the power sector which we are all aware of, that needs to be addressed if we are going to attract more investments into that sector. If we actually aggregate all the power generating sources in this country, put them in a proper distribution metrics, you will have enough power. So, the real challenge is in getting transmission and distribution to work effectively in this country and getting other things working.

Are you involved in gas capturing projects?

We are involved in gas capturing; we are at very advanced stages of due diligence on a gas flare capturing project. From my last count, there are more than 300 major gas flare sites in Nigeria. For instance, those from Rivers State, at night if you drive towards Yenegoa, the night light are lit with flaring gas. These things have been flaring for decades. The economic waste is incredible. So, the project we are about to do, which we would probably announce before the end of this year, is one we are working with other partners and we are taking one of the largest onshore gas flare sites and turning it into LPG capture. What is fascinating about the project is that the LPG and the power sales would give you about 19 per cent internal rate of return (IRR). But there is a big element involved, which is carbon credit. You can actually go to Switzerland and sell the carbon credit and we are glad to do that.

Why is the NSIA not investing in petroleum refinery projects?

Refining is an area of interest for us. We have looked at investing in NNPC or the rehabilitation; it (the Federal Government) hasn’t moved for that, so we are waiting. We looked at modular refineries; we did a lot of work on that and the truth is that we have not done any investment for a number of reasons. So, you will see us in refining because it is an area of interest.

What is your outlook for 2019?

2019 started off very volatile with trade wars as the single most important challenge that we have. It is important to us because our FGF largely invests outside the country. So, when you see movements in the Dow Jones or S &P 500, they tend to affect the performance of this fund. We expect that even though we have seen a rebound in our performance because the global markets have risen, it would remain a very volatile 2019, for as long as the US uses tariff to drive global trade, you are going to see this affect global markets. So, for the rest of the year, I anticipate that the market remains very volatile as long as President Donald Trump continues to tweet and drive foreign policy. I still struggle to understand the correlation between tariff and immigration. However, we are optimistic that our asset allocation strategy will withstand downside risks and optimise market gains. Within the last 12 months, we committed and deployed over N100 billion across the priority three road projects under the PIDF. We have also commenced due diligence on the Mambilla Power Project. We are within the target project milestone on all these projects. Throughout 2019, we shall continue to focus on executing our infrastructure investment strategy in our core focus areas of power, toll roads, agriculture, healthcare and most recently gas industrialisation.

source: Simeon Ebulu.
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