From Uche Usim, Abuja The Debt Management Office (DMO), on Wednesday, revealed that it was offering a fresh N100 billion Sukuk, the third of its kind, in line with its mandate to raise N3.6 trillion loan locally to augment the 2023 budget, while closing the road infrastructure gap in the country.Sukuk is a project-tied borrowing that enables the government to attract funds designed for specific tasks like road and bridge construction. Sukuk are structured based on the specific contract of exchange of the Shariah-compliant assets.The Director General of DMO, Patience Oniha, at a media briefing on Wednesday explained that the Sukuk, safely anticipated to be oversubscribed like others, will close next Tuesday. She added that the current Sukuk instrument has 15.6 percent rental returns, even as she described the product as a strategic retail investment for promoting financial inclusion. “So overall, we’re specifically borrowing to fund infrastructure. But we’re also developing the market and giving people more investment opportunities.We have raised N3.2 trillion out of the N3.55 trillion approved by FG and transferred same to the OAGF to be appropriated. We took advantage of earlier developments to borrow at a lower rate. We’re not borrowing beyond what was approved for local borrowing”, she noted.Oniha disregarded the opinion of some industry watchers that government borrowing from the domestic market would muscle private sector investments.“Overall, it’s a win-win for Nigeria. Even the contractors are interested because they want to work. So, once they are assured of the payment, they go to site and begin to work and when the contractors go to site, they employ people. And then there are all these other ancillary jobs that are created”, she added.The DMO DG added that the funds that would be raised from the debt instrument would be used to finance federal road projects designed by the Federal Ministry of Works and Housing and the Federal Capital Territory.On whether the government was not worried that borrowing to fund its 2023 budget could be constrained by the widely-adopted tightening position in the domestic and foreign markets, Oniha said it was difficult and somewhat premature to predict the outcome of the market ahead of 2023, which is Nigeria’s election year.DMO commenced the issuance of Sukuk in September 2017 as a strategic initiative to support the development of infrastructure, promote financial inclusion and deepen the domestic securities market.In the debut Sovereign Sukuk in 2017, N100 billion was raised to finance the rehabilitation and construction of twenty-five (25) road projects across the six (6) geopolitical zones. That debut Sukuk was heavily over-subscribed.The 25 projects funded from the debut Sukuk included the dualisation of Lokoja-Benin road, Abuja-Abaji-Lokoja road section one, three and section four and Construction of Oju-Loko-Oweto Bridge over River Benue, and the dualisation of Suleja-Minna Road in Niger state, Phase two, in the North Central.The North East had four projects namely: the dualisation of Kano to Maiduguri road section two, three, four and five.Similarly, the North West region had four projects namely the Dualisation of Kano-Katsina Road phase one, Construction of Kano Western bypass and the construction of Kaduna Eastern by-pass road.Four projects benefitted from the funds in South East namely; Rehabilitation of Enugu-Port Harcourt dual carriage way section two, Onitsha to Enugu expressway, Enugu to Port Harcourt dual carriageway section one, and three.For the South-South, five projects were funded, namely; dualisation of Yenagowa-Kolo; Otuoke-Bayelsa palm road. Other projects in the region were the rehabilitation of Enugu to Port Harcourt road section four.Three projects were financed in the South West region namely; the reconstruction and asphalt overlay of Benin to Ofosu to Ore to Ajebandele to Shagamu dual carriageway phase three and four.The dualisation of Ibadan-Ilorin Road section two was completed using the raised funds.Encouraged by the acceptance of the instrument, the DMO issued another Sukuk for N100 billion in 2018 and N162.557 billion in 2019.The proceeds of these two (2) Sukuk issuances were also deployed to twenty-eight (28) and forty-four (44) road projects, across the country, respectively.Last year’s N 250 billion was the fourth in the series which began in 2017, with the total amount raised through Sukuk standing at N612. 557 billion. All have been applied to road infrastructure, according to the government.“According to the DMO D-G, the ethical instrument has been highly accepted among investing members of the public who have also commended the organisation and the federal government for the initiative.“Since the debut Sovereign Sukuk in September 2017 whose benefit in terms of improved road infrastructure within and outside cities in Nigeria is clearly visible, the Sukuk has been commended as a viable instrument for financing infrastructure. “The use of Sukuk, has enabled timely completion of the designated projects whilst also delivering the multiplier effects associated with construction of capital projects.