· Says it is a show of confidence in the economy

· We are going to use this money to unlock the potential in this economy- Finance Minister

· “Nobody can hide our smiles”, says RCC MD on behalf of Contractors

Minister of Power Works and Housing, Mr Babatunde Fashola SAN, Thursday received the cheque of N100Billion proceeds of the just concluded Investments Certificates (SUKUK) for Road Infrastructure across the country commending investors for their demonstration of confidence in the nation’s economy.

At the brief but colourful presentation ceremony at the Conference Room of the Ministry of Power, Works and Housing, Abuja, Fashola also charged contractors working on the roads being financed with the SUKUK proceeds to reciprocate the gesture of the Federal Government which, according to him, has worked assiduously to ensure that funds were raised to pay them.

Recalling his meeting recently with the contractors where he promised that the roads would be appropriately financed, the Minister declared, “For me, I would only ask you to reciprocate the kind gesture”, adding that a lot of efforts and collaboration were put into the project to make it successful.

He thanked the Minister of Finance, Mrs Kemi Adeoshun, the Debt Management Office (DMO), other agencies and individuals who worked to make the programme successful as well as all the investors in the SUKUK for showing confidence, “not only in the instrument but also in the Nigerian economy”.

In her remarks before the presentation, the Minister of Finance, Mrs Kemi Adeosun, who described the SUKUK as yet another demonstration of the present administration’s readiness to embrace new developments in the financial sector, said Nigeria was not the only nation that has embraced such financial window adding that South Africa and Britain had also used the SUKUK window.

The Minister, who expressed gratitude to all the investors in the Investment Certificates, which, according to her, was oversubscribed by N5.6Billion, said it showed the level of confidence and readiness of Nigerians to invest in the building of the nation.

Thanking the Minister of Power, Works and Housing for identifying the road projects covered by the SUKUK, which she described as critical to the economy of the country, Adeosun, who said the SUKUK programme was “all about inclusion”, added that the investment would unlock the potential in the nation’s economy.

Also in her remarks, after the presentation, the Managing Director of Lotus Capital, one of the Financial Advisers of the SUKUK project, Mrs. Hajara Adeola, expressed joy that the Fund was tied to specific projects adding that the Road Show carried out for the Fund showed the level of interest Nigerians have for the building of their country.

Also, the Deputy Managing Director of FBN Merchant Bank Limited, another Financial Adviser, Mr Taiwo Okeowo, commended the Federal Government for its commitment to the rebuilding of Nigeria thanking particularly the Minister of Power, Works and Housing for his untiring efforts to boost the confidence of investors.

Recalling that the Group was also chosen a few years back to participate in a similar fund raising programme, Okeowo expressed the appreciation of the government in reposing such confidence in his organisation pledging the readiness of the Group to contribute its might in future events for the country.

The Director General of the Debt Management Office, Ms. Patience Oniha, in her remarks, expressed joy that the SUKUK project had reached the stage of cheque presentation adding that apart from its numerous benefits, the SUKUK project had shown what teamwork could do in the effort to rebuild the country.

Speaking on behalf of the contractors, the Managing Director of Reynolds Construction Company (Nigeria) Limited (RCC), Engr. Moussa Nakhla, commended President Muhammadu Buhari and the Federal Government for the efforts in the rebuilding of the nation’s infrastructure expressing joy that the administration has not belied the trust reposed in them by the contractors.

Thanking the Minister of Power, Works and Housing and the Minister of Finance for the confidence they continued to repose in the contractors, with assurances of payment, the Managing Director declared, “Nobody can hide our smile”, adding that the road to the present had not been easy.

The N100Billion SUKUK proceeds are to be shared equally to the six geopolitical zones with each zone getting N16.67Billion for the selected road projects in the zones while the road projects covered by the Fund, include five in the North Central, four in the North East, two in the North West, four in the South East, five in the South West and five in the South-South.

According to the Director Highways, Planning and Development in the Ministry, Engr. Chukwunike Uzo, roads under the SUKUK in the North Central include the Construction of Loko-Oweto Bridge, Dualisation of Abuja-Lokoja Road, sections 1 and 4, Dualisation of Suleja-Minna Road phase 2 and the Dualisation of Lokoja-Benin Road section 1.

In the North East Zone, the four projects include the Dualisation of Kano-Maiduguri Road sections 2,3, 4 and 5 while the four projects in the North West include Dualisation of Kano-Maiduguri Road Section 1, Dualization of Kano-Katsina Road Phase 1, Construction of Kano Western Bypass and the construction of Kzduna Eastern Bypass.

In the South East, the four roads to benefit from the SUKUK fund include the rehabilitation of Onitsha-Enugu Expressway and the rehabilitation of Enugu-Port Harcourt Road sections 1, 2 and 3 while in the South-South the five projects include rehabilitation of Enugu-Port Harcourt Road section 4, Dualisation of Yenegoa to Otoeke-Bayelsa Palm Road and Dualisation of Lokoja-Benin Road sections 2,3 and 4.

For the South-West, the three projects covered include reconstruction of Benin-Ofosu-Ore-Ajebandele-Shagamu Dual-carriageway phase 3 and 4 and the Dualisation of Ibadan-Ilorin Road section 2.

Also present at the occasion were, the Ministers of State of Power, Works and Housing, Hon. Mustapha Baba Shehuri and Surveyor Suleiman Zarma Hassan, Permanent Secretary, Works and Housing, Directors, Special Advisers and other top officials of the Ministry and the Ministry of Finance while on the contractors’ side were Managing Directors of Reynolds Construction (Nigeria) Limited, CCECC, Arab Contractors, CGC and Mothercat among others.