Written by Sarah NEGEDU

Economic diversification: FG to set up food processing zones

The Nigerian government has assured the international community of its willingness to set up chains of food processing mills across the country to help in diversifying the economy.

Speaking to a delegation from the United Nations Industrial Development Organisation, UNIDO, Minister of Agriculture and Rural Development, Chief Audu Ogbeh, said the crop processing zones, when completed, will help the nation attain food sufficiency for its huge population, while encouraging food export.

The minister, who lamented the high interest rate of agricultural loans in the country, called for its reduction to five percent to make loans repayable and profitable to farming.

Ogbeh expressed appreciation to Nigeria’s development partners, particularly UNIDO for their support and continued interest in the development of the country’s agricultural sector and solicited more support to attract private investors in the implementation of the Staple Crops processing zones in the country.

He added that assistance would be required in the establishment of export certification laboratories in Nigeria to serve the West African Region.

Earlier in his remarks, leader of the team and Managing Director, Programme Development and Technical Co-operation, UNIDO, Mr. Philipe Scholtes, said the team was in the ministry to seek for more collaboration with the Federal Government and discuss on the agro industrial development of the country.

Scholtes said in 2010, the Abuja declaration mandated UNIDO and other development partners to deal with Agro-business, industrialization and job creation in Africa.

Scholtes said UNIDO has been working with the ministry in the development of the agribusiness sector of Nigeria.

According to the UNIDO boss, his organization aside the technical support, would facilitate the financial resources to establish the staple crops processing zones in the rural areas of the country as a result of its relationship with development banks.


Transcorp set to fund multi-billion naira renovation project

...lists N10bn bond

Management of Transcorp Hotels Plc has said the company has enough resources to successfully carryout the multi-billion naira upgrade and expansion of the historic Transcorp Hilton Abuja.

Managing Director and Chief Executive Officer of the hotel, Valentine Ozigbo, gave the assurance when the company announced the listing of its Series 1 N10billion bond on the Nigerian Stock Exchange, NSE, and FMDQ OTC Securities Exchange.

He said with the successful completion of the company’s Series 1 and 2 bonds, which recorded an unprecedented oversubscription rate of 30 percent in Series 1 and a 98% subscription in Series 2, the company now has sufficient funds for the expansion project.

According to him, “By successfully raising these funds, we now have sufficient funding for our immediate priority projects especially the upgrade and expansion of the multi –award winning and iconic Transcorp Hilton Abuja.”

The company had in 2015, announce plans to embark on full renovation of the historic Transcorp Hilton Abuja and its 670 rooms and on-site facilities, as well as the development of Transcorp Hilton projects in Lagos and Port Harcourt.

Transcorp Hotel successfully closed its Series 1 & 2 bonds at the last quarter of 2015 and has raised a total of N19.758billion. Series 1 which is now listed, is a 7-year bond issued at 16.00percent fixed rate and maturing in 2022.

Also speaking at the event, the Executive Director, Capital Markets, NSE, Mr. Haruna Jalo-Waziri said, “The NSE is committed to providing a reliable and efficient capital market for companies and governments to raise funds for economic expansion. In this challenging time, our market is robust enough to cater to capital needs that traditional lenders cannot handle.

“The listing of the Transcorp Hotels Plc Series 1 bond on the Exchange is a remarkable achievement as this will further develop and deepen the domestic debt market. The NSE will continue to provide the necessary platform for the bonds to thrive.”

On his part, the MD/CEO of the FMDQ, Mr. Bola Onadele Koko said ‘FMDQ remains steadfast in its commitment to facilitate growth and development in the Nigerian financial market, with specific focus on the debt capital market, and the Nigerian economy at large, and has actively commenced the year on initiatives being developed to address this growth and development.

In her remarks, Oluwatoyin Sanni, the Group CEO of United Capital Plc, sponsor of the bond on FMDQ, stated that ‘We are delighted to have played a leading role in the successful execution of the Transcorp Hotels Series I Bond Issue. Coming from a successful 2015, United Capital remains committed to making significant contributions to the success of our esteemed clients. This transaction represents one of the ways we support leading businesses through our expertise in capital raising. We will continue to support Nigerian governments and businesses with superior Advisory, Capital Raising and Trust services.”


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