By Camillus Eboh
ABUJA, Sept 16 (Reuters) – Nigeria expects to raise $1 billion from Eurobonds by mid-December, a senior debt official said on Friday as the government planned to inject another $1.1 billion into Africa’s biggest economy, which has been hit by recession.
Nigeria has been scrambling to fund a record budget worth 6.6 trillion naira ($20.9 billion) aimed at reviving an economy hammered by a slump in oil prices.
“All borrowing would be used for capital projects. In raising the money we are ensuring that local transaction partners, local banks, must be involved,” Abraham Nwankwo, Director-General, of the Debt Management office, told reporters.
He said local and international banks could make pitches for the bonds sale until Monday. “And days after that, we will fastrack the process of vetting, screening and selection,” he added.
Finance Minister Kemi Adeosun also said the government would release another 350 billion naira ($1.1 billion) for capital expenditure projects, coming on top of 420 billion naira spent since May.
“A lot it has gone into Power, Works and Housing and Defence too,” she said.
The government approved this month borrowing from China, Japan, the African Development Bank and World Bank, including loans with rates of 1.25 percent and a 20-year maturity.
Adeosun has said Nigeria plans to borrow a total of 1.8 trillion naira from abroad and at home to fund an expected budget deficit of 2.2 trillion naira.
She also said the government was seeking emergency legislation to speed up advertising of tenders. “Can we afford to advertise for 12 weeks? Why can’t we keep the advert to maybe two weeks?,” she said. “What we need is speed.”
Nigeria slid into recession for the first time in more than 20 years after the economy shrank by 2.06 percent in the second quarter. It had already contracted 0.36 percent in the first three months.
A slump in crude prices, Nigeria’s mainstay, has hammered public finances and the naira currency, causing chronic dollar shortages. Crude sales account for around 70 percent of government revenues.
($1 = 315.4000 naira) (Reporting by Camillus Eboh; Writing by Ulf Laessing; Editing by Toby Chopra)