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Bank delay stalls $50m Chinese loan for Enugu housing project

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By Dennis Agbo

ENUGU—UNASCERTAINED delay by a Nigerian bank has constituted hiccup to faster completion of a multi-million dollar housing development of HELIU residences in Enugu.

Enugu state governor, Ifeanyi Ugwuanyi

Fifty million dollars loan was last year approved by Chinese Credit Insurance Corporation, through the World’s largest bank, the Industrial and Commercial Bank of China, ICBC, which the developers said they were yet to access due to inexplicable reason by a Nigerian bank that is supposed to provide guarantee for the loan.

The housing scheme is a private/public partnership project by FIT consult and Enugu state government.

Vanguard gathered that of the project sum of $50m, under the Guarantee of Chinese Credit Insurance Corporation, SINOSURE, ICBC will provide $42.5 million or 85 per cent of the total project sum, while FIT Consult will provide the equity of 15 percent  or $7.5 million.

Managing partner of FIT Consult, Chief Loretta Aniagolu, who  expressed surprise over the development, said that in spite of the fact that officials of the local bank travelled alongside FIT Consult team to China during the negotiations for the loan, the Nigeria bank is yet to give reason for its delay to execute it’s assignment on the fund.

Aniagolu said: “We had SINOSURE approve through the Industrial and Commercial Bank of China, ICBC, an 8-year tenure loan, about $42.5m dollars, while we provide 15 percent, about $7.5m dollars guaranteed by the local bank.

“We are currently experiencing delays from the local bank; and  we’re not sure what’s going on, particularly, after we had structured the loan to ensure adequate buffers within exchange rate fluctuations,  reliable repayment streams and effective exit strategies for all parties involved.”

“However, we have continued to advance aggressively with our own funds and deposits from property buyers, as you can see from the tremendous amount of work that has been achieved and is going on.

“Furthermore, we have put other options in place, in case the local bank disappoints us eventually. So in a nutshell, that’s where we are.”

The project site covers about 1.2 million square metres containing about 20 kilometres of road network, with 70 completed bungalows, while   massive construction work is on-going at the site.

Aniagolu said: “We are doing concrete roads because we don’t want to have any maintenance in the next 15 to 20 years. It’s unusual because the road is also 8 inches in thickness. What it means is that there’s no question of having potholes or anything on those roads for at least 15 years.”

She further disclosed that Water requirement for the District is 500,000 litres per day, using a horizontal drill system that will produce 2.5m litres per day to ensure there will never be water scarcity in the estate.



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