Nigeria aims for 10% growth

Lagos — The Minister of Finance, Olusegun Aganga, has said 10 per cent growth in Gross Domestic Product in the nation's economy can be achieved in 2011.

Aganga, who made this remark in London at a conference, said: "10 per cent growth by the end of next year is doable."

He said that the nation's economy was on track to achieve GDP growth of at least 7 per cent this year after the 7.1 per cent growth recorded in the first half of the year.

The minister however, said there was strong appetite for the planned $500 million global bond and bookrunners were being appointed with the aim of an October or November issue.

According to him "I met some investors last month who said you should do $1 billion. There is appetite. "We are in the process of appointing bookrunners."

The 10-year bond is aimed at helping to fund the widening budget deficit in the nation's economy and at setting a benchmark for the country in the international capital markets for both corporate and government debts.

It would be recalled that the Debt Management Office had on Tuesday, said a consortium of international and local legal and financial advisers had been selected for the planned issue, which has been repeatedly delayed.

Not all analysts shared Aganga's optimism about the likely level of interest in the bond, noting that with elections due in January, high government spending and lower foreign exchange reserves were increasing the uncertainty for investors.

"I think he is over-optimistic if he believes there will be strong demand for a bond; two to three months before a presidential election, with reserves at a 4-1/2 year low and the Excess Crude Account depleted," Knight Libertas' analyst, Richard Segal, said.







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