[NAN] — The Federal Government has won 2013 Europe, Middle East and Africa (EMEA) Finance Best Sovereign Bond Award for its outstanding performance in the international bond market.

    The Minister of Finance, Dr Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala, who received the award in Abuja on Friday, said the award was an indication of government’s effort to ensure strong and effective economy.

    “The award demonstrates the government’s strategy of leveraging on the strengths of the economy to boost key sectors like power.

    “The focus of the Jonathan’s administration is on transforming key sectors through innovative management of the economy.

    “This award shows that we are on track,’’ Okonjo-Iweala, the Coordinating Minister for the Economy, said.

    She said that one of the goals of public debt management was to diversify the sources of borrowing, while subjecting the government to discipline of domestic and international market.

    This, she said, would create sovereign presence and benchmark in the markets which Nigerian corporate could leverage upon to access long term capital.

    She noted that the main objective of the 2013 bond was to build on the successful debt strategy and to reduce the government’s borrowing in the domestic market and reduce debt service costs.

    “The Federal Government’s decision to float the award winning bond was inspired by the success of earlier bonds.

    “Nigeria made a debut entry into the international capital market in January 2011 through the issuance of 500 million dollars 10 years Eurobond.

    “The success of this initial effort as demonstrated in the number of Nigerian firms who accessed the market subsequently confirmed the appropriateness of the country’s debt management strategy,’’ she said.

    The Chief Executive of Citi Group London, Mr Jim Cowles, said the group’s award to Nigerian government was to encourage its courage of coming into the global market at a critical time.

    He said that the fact that the bond was four times oversubscribed was a big plus to the economy, adding that government effort to also invest the proceeds in infrastructure development should be commended.

    “This award is to encourage the government of Nigeria for the great move in the international market,’’ he said.

    He advised government to ensure inclusive growth with the underling GDP.

    Also, Dr Abraham Nwankwo, Director-General, Debt Management Office, said the award coming to Nigeria as the most successful country in Africa in issuance of bond was a plus to the nation’s economy.

    “This showed the resilience of the nation’s economy, resilience of the Nigerian spirit and the resilience of those who believe in Nigeria,’’ he said.

    He commended the effort of the President Goodluck Jonathan through the transformation agent that had driven the move to ensure stable economy.


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