By Micheal Eboh
BNP Paribas has announced plans to deepen Nigeria import sector with the provision of an improvedÂ structured finance programme for government and private sector projects in Nigeria.
This, according to the company is part of its African business expansion.
The global financial institution is currently involved in corporate and investment banking in Nigeria through over 12 local banks.
The organisation is operating in about 85 countries with about 300,000 employees in five continents and reputed as the wordâ€™s sixth strongest bank as per Standard & poorâ€™s AA rating.
Deputy Global, Head of Export Finance and Head, Regional Development and Organisation of the institution, Yesser Henda, said yesterday at an import finance seminar organised by the financial institution in Lagos, that BNP Paribas intends to do more business in Nigeria through advisory services and structured finance of medium to long-term tenure for import of capital goods, equipment and services into the country.
â€œWe are talking about providing finance with 2 to 15 years repayment plan, on attractive interest terms. That is achieved through advisory services as well as structuring and financing solutions using credit enhancement structures from export credit agencies (ECAs), multilateral development banks and private insurers,â€ he added.
Henda disclosed that BNP Paribas leverages on its corporate and investment banking to offer to the emerging countriesâ€™ importers low cost financing with long repayment terms, which would otherwise be unavailable. He added that the institution remains a worldwide leader in its operational area; in terms of number of deals arrange standing at over 170 deals, with market share of about 21 per cent.
Explaining further, BNPâ€™s operations in Nigeria, its Special Adviser and Consultant, Aderonke Onadeko, saidÂ the organisation has come to Nigeria to find out what the infrastructure finance needs of the country is.
â€œWe will be organising seminars of this nature regularly to pass on information to potential customers on what we do.Â We have found out for instance, that when the government wants to finance infrastructure projects they tend to pull it out in one yearâ€™s budget. That is not the way it should be.Â With BNP Paribas structured finance, such a government can provide for 10 per cent this year and spread the project finance over 10 years,â€ she added.
Onadeko pointed out that BNP Paribas is eager to take its financing in Nigeria beyond oil and gas that has dominated its activities in the country to other economic sectors.
â€œWe want to go into the financing of equipment, activities in port concession, airport, breweries and even the cement industry. Our services are available to Nigerian companies that want to bring in new equipment and technology to enhance the competitiveness of their operations. The infrastructure finance we are discussing is that extending up to five to seven years. You know the local banks can meet the financing needs of their customers for 1 to 3 years tenure, based on the nature of funds available to them. We come in for medium to long-term financing and our interest is in unit digits, not up to 10 per cent.
â€œWe stand as the middleman or you call it broker between the manufacturers and exporters of equipment and the institutions trying to bring them into Nigeria. We are not necessarily limited by amount in deciding to do business with you but the bigger the deal the better.
When dealing with a state government we request for sovereign guarantee over our funds and when it is a private company, his bank provides guarantee for the fund. We do not intend to obtain a banking licence in Nigeria as our strategy is to partner with the local banks to bring the best international financial solutions to our targets in Nigeria,â€ she said.