The Nigerian Stock Exchange said on Friday that the 3 trillion dollars required to provide infrastructure for the next 25 years could be addressed with Green Bond issuance.
Oscar Onyema, NSE Chief Executive Officer, stated this at the Federal Government Green Bond pre-listing conference organised by the exchange in Lagos.
Onyema said Green Bonds present a unique opportunity for financing the country’s climate change objectives, delivering on critical infrastructure gaps to unlock economic growth potential.
He described green bonds as a turning point and a new paradigm for Nigeria and urged listed companies and other corporate organisations in Nigeria to use globally recognised platforms at the NSE to raise green capital.
He said: “Green bonds also provide a way for issuers to diversify their capital structures and attract a wider base of investors from both domestic and international markets.
“As you are all aware, Nigeria – as a party to the Paris Climate Agreement – has committed to achieving specific climate change objectives embedded in her Nationally Determined Contributions.
“These objectives require huge capital investments, and particularly so for Nigeria – given the huge infrastructural deficit which is estimated at three trillion dollars over the next 25 years.”
He commended the Debt Management Office, the Ministry of Environment, the Securities and Exchange Commission and all the members of the Green Bond Advisory Working Group for the actualisation of the initiative.
Onyema said the nation’s Green Bond was the first to be issued by an African country, noting that Nigeria was the fourth nation in the world to issue Green bonds – after Poland, France, and Fiji.
He added that the growth of the global Green Bonds industry in the past 10 years had been unprecedented commencing with the 800 million dollars with pioneer issuance by the European Investment Bank in 2007.
Onyema added that the annual issuance of Green Bonds grew by almost 200 times to 160 billion dollars in 2017, with issuance for 2018 currently projected to grow to 250 billion dollars.
According to him, issuers of green bonds cut across the public and private sectors, and include National Governments such as Poland, France, Fiji, and Nigeria.
He said corporate issuers could also be found across various industries from healthcare and energy, to transportation and banking.
Samuel Agbevem, Partner and West Africa Sector Leader for Climate and Sustainability Services, Ernest and Young, said climate change had become a reality in Nigeria and needed to be tackled.
Agbevem said issuance of Green bond would provide a responsible finance opportunity at reduced cost to tackle climate change and environmental issues.
Agbevem, however, stressed the need for an establishment of green bond framework that would attract the private sector.
He said the framework must align with global principles and best practices, and that integrity and transparency must be inherent in the private sector framework.
The News Agency of Nigeria reports that the conference was themed: “Exploring the Green Financing Opportunity: Green Bonds and Enabling Frameworks”.