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$50M IFC BOND: SHAREHOLDERS' GROUP CALLS FOR FULL DISCLOSURE

By NBF News
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Some shareholders under the aegis of the Progressive Shareholders Association of Nigeria have called for full disclosure on a $50 million naira bond issued by the International Finance Corporation (IFC) to support the domestic capital market and increase access to local currency finance in Nigeria.

The shareholders reacting to the development, said carrying local investors along in the plan by IFC was germane to the growth and development of the stock market, noting that anything done in secrecy would amount to fraud by the international organisation.

According to President of the association Mr. Boniface Okezie, 'They are international investors. We don't know, we don't have a clear cut information on how they will raise the money. Are they going to loan the money raised to local investors. How are they raising the money to impact positively on local investors; it has to be clearly defined.

'Except they raise the money and deposit with local bank, so that local investors can have access to it for development, only then can they say they have done well', he added.

A senior broker who pleaded anonymity told LEADERSHIP that while the move by IFC was laudable, there was need for awareness to be made in the market so as keep investors especially local investors abreast of their operations in the domestic economy.

He said while the capital market continues to pick up gradually, 'on no account must we allow anything to jeopardise the growth to the detriment of investors.'

The IFC Vice President, Treasury, Mr. Jingdon Hua, while addressing journalist recently after the $50 million first naira bond tagged 'Naija Bond' was admitted into the Nigeria Stock Exchange (NSE)'s daily official list, said the bond would be a milestone achievement as IFC continues to work with governments and local authorities to strengthen domestic capital markets in the African continent.

He stated that the bond will be used to support its development projects in Nigeria, noting that the size and tenor of the bond would depend on the needs of its Nigerian clients and investor demand.

Hua further said Nigeria's capital market received a fillip last year when the country was admitted to JP Morgan's emerging market Government Bond Index, adding that with Naija Bond the thinly traded corporate debt market stands to benefit.

The IFC Naija bond is targeted at investors such as pension funds, insurers, asset managers, and banks who seek to diversify their portfolio while investing in high-quality assets. IFC bonds are rated triple-A by Moody's Investors Service and Standard & Poor's. Proceeds from the bond will be used to support IFC's private sector development programme.