FG appoints Goldman Sachs, Stanbic IBTC to sell debut Diaspora Bond

By The Citizen

The federal government has asked Goldman Sachs and Stanbic IBTC Bank to advise it on the planned sale of a debut 'diaspora bond' targeted at Nigerians living abroad.

Africa's biggest economy first announced plans to sell bonds targeting Nigerian nationals abroad in 2013 to raise between $100 million to $300 million.

According to Reuters, Goldman Sachs and Stanbic were due to manage the sale at the time, but the government did not appoint any book-runners ahead of the election in 2015 that brought President Muhammadu Buhari to power.

United Bank for Africa on Monday said the lender had been appointed as one of the bookrunners on the diaspora bond deal.

First Bank and Standard Bank were also appointed, a local newspaper reported, quoting the debt office.

Nigeria is the world's fifth-biggest destination for international remittances after China, India, the Philippines and Mexico, with five million Nigerians living abroad sending money back to relatives, according to Western Union.

Remittances make up the second-largest source of foreign exchange receipts in Nigeria, after oil revenues. Citizens living abroad send at least $10 billion home annually. The diaspora bond will have a maturity of five to seven years and will be issued before the second half of the year, the newspaper reported.

A finance ministry source told Reuters this month that the country will look to issue a diaspora bond after completing a $1 billion Eurobond sale this year.

Last month the government appointed Citigroup, Standard Chartered Bank and Stanbic IBTC to manage the $1 billion Eurobond sale, which it hopes to carry out in March.

The government plans to borrow up to $10 billion, with about half of that coming from foreign sources.

So far only the African Development Bank has confirmed a budget support package of $1 billion. The government has held talks for months with the World Bank, China and other institutions to fund the budget gaps. The government also plans to issue a debut sovereign sukuk in the local market and is looking to appoint advisers.