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Stakeholders unveil strategies to deepen Nigeria’s debt market

Critical steps required to deepen Nigeria’s debt market was the focus of discourse in Lagos as the Annual Bonds, Loans and Sukuk Nigeria Conference was held in the Nigerian commercial capital on November 6, 2018, at the Eko Convention Centre.

The conference, with Stanbic IBTC as gold sponsor, brought together over 300 participants comprising government officials, corporates, Banks, fund managers, investors and advisors. It is the premier event connecting fund raisers with lenders and investors active within the Nigerian capital market space. The event featured over 30 key industry speakers who shared views on local asset management, developments in the pensions and alternative asset management space, and issues affecting institutional investors; as well as providing insights on the capital market strategies of leading sovereign, corporate and project companies. The conference also facilitated networking meetings with the region’s most active issuers, offeringa sneak peek into proposed new innovative financing structures.

Chairman of the event and Chief Executive, Stanbic IBTC Bank PLC, Demola Sogunle, in his welcome address, said the conference is growing in stature as a major platform to glean useful information on capital market developments, especially at a time that access to capital has become imperative for Nigeria in the wake of global market volatility.

“The bond market plays a central role in the deepening of financial markets not only for the diversity of products it offers the market but essentially its role in improving diversification of funding sources and increasing access to credit markets. It is therefore the right time to ensure that proper structures are in place to ensure the development of a deep and expansive bonds, loans and derivatives market in Nigeria,” Sogunle stated.

He said by throwing its weight behind the event, Stanbic IBTC hopes to trigger the inflow of foreign direct investment into Nigeria by highlighting the country’s huge potential and growth opportunities. This, he said, is in line with the group’s tradition of facilitating must-attend forums where critical insights on the Nigerian economy and the opportunities therein are provided.

Headline speakers at the event included Director-General, Debt Management Office, Patience Oniha; Senior Resident Representative in Nigeria, International Monetary Fund (IMF), Amine Mati; Acting Director-General, Securities and Exchange Commission of Nigeria, Mary Uduk; General Manager/Corporate Treasurer, MTN Nigeria, Ishmael Nwokocha; and Managing Director and Chief Executive Officer, Sigma Pensions Ltd., Dave Uduanu.

Oniha, who spoke on the topic Understanding Islamic Finance: what are the requirements, processes and benefits of tapping into this market”, enumerated the impact of Islamic finance in the growth trajectory of many countries across the world. While making a case to harness this very important source of funding, she also highlighted government’s key funding requirements and where the funds will come from and the role of government in delivering infrastructure projects.

The forum had panel discussions which featured in-depth analysis of case studies, as well as examining Africa’s use of debt products, and what is required to sustain the continent’s growth story.

A panel session on ”Bringing issuers and traders to the NGN bond markets: Boosting liquidity and trading volumes ”featured as discussants; Mary Uduk, Vice President, Financial Markets Dealers Association, Adetoun Dosunmu; and Head of Global Markets, Stanbic IBTC, Sam Ocheho. It was moderated by Konrad Reuss, Managing Director, South Africa and Sub-Saharan Africa, S&P Global Ratings.

Executive Director, Stanbic IBTC Capital Ltd, Kobby Bentsi-Enchill, who moderated the session on ”Diversifying financing options for repeat issuers and assessing the practicalities for first time issuers and issuances in new sectors”, described the conference as a great platform for hearing from and networking with the industry key players in the Nigerian bonds and loans markets. The overall objective is to provide long-term financing for the country’s economic development. He emphasized that the development of an organized bond, loans and debt market would help diversify investment options and boost economic activities in the country. “Whether you are looking to become more involved in the Nigerian debt markets, or expand your existing business, the annual Bonds, Loans & Sukuk Nigeria Conference provides a prime opportunity for you to meet key market players and develop your knowledge,” Bentsi-Enchill added.

Other top-level institutions that participated inthe conference, organized by the GFC Media Group, included Financial Derivatives Company Limited, Debt Management Office Nigeria, International

Monetary Fund (IMF), International Islamic Liquidity Management Corporation (IILM), Federal Ministry of Finance, Federal Ministry of Environment, Access Bank and Central Bank of Nigeria, amongst others.

The GFC Media Group organizes over a dozen financing and investment conferences, bringing together capital markets and structured finance professionals with borrowers and investors throughout the emerging markets.

Stanbic IBTC Holdings PLC is a member of Standard Bank Group, a full service financial services group with a clear focus on three main business pillars – Corporate and Investment Banking, Personal and Business Banking and Wealth Management. Standard Bank Group is the largest African bank by assets and earnings. It is rooted in Africa with strategic representation in 20 countries on the African continent. Standard Bank has been in operation for over 155 years and is focused on building first-class, on-the-ground financial services organizations in chosen countries in Africa and connecting other selected emerging markets to Africa and to each other, applying sector expertise, particularly in natural resources, power and infrastructure.