• Wednesday, February 28, 2024
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Atiku asks Tinubu to come clean on NNPC’s $3.3bn emergency loan

Atiku asks Tinubu to come clean on NNPC’s $3.3bn emergency loan

Atiku Abubakar, a former vice president, has asked President Bola Ahmed Tinubu’s administration to explain to Nigerians what is really happening to the $3.3bn emergency loan secured last year by the Nigerian National Petroleum Company (NNPC).

Describing as a landmark economic decision of the Tinubu administration, the securing last August of a $3.3 billion emergency crude repayment loan, which according to the NNPC, was to help give support to the Naira and stabilise the Foreign Exchange market, he asked the Federal Government to provide explanation to what has happened since the loan was secured.

Read also: Atiku calls NNPC’s $3.3bn Afreximbank loan ‘shady deal’, seeks explanation

“The curious thing about this transaction is that up till now, the Federal Government continues to keep mum about it, and the only information available to the public on the mega-deal is coming only through unofficial sources from the NNPC.

“The deal is supposed to be a crude-for-cash loan arranged by the African Export-Import Bank.

“According to information available, a Special Purpose Vehicle called Project Gazelle Funding Limited is driving the deal, and it was incorporated in the Bahamas.

“The SPV is the borrower while the NNPC is the sponsor, with an agreement to pay with crude oil to the SPV in order to liquidate the loan at an interest rate that is a little over 12 percent,” Atiku said.

In a release he personally signed, the presidential candidate of the People’s Democratic Party (PDP) in the 2023 general election further said:
“What is even more confounding about this deal is why the Federal Government would register a company in the Bahamas, knowing full well the recent scandal of the Paradise Papers that involved that country.

“Curiously also, Nigeria’s current Barrels Produced Daily (BPD) is 1.38 million, and according to the Project Gazelle deal, Nigeria is to supply 90,000 Barrels of its daily production, starting from 2024 till it is up to 164.25 million barrels for the repayment of the loan.

“Now, this is where the details get disturbing because Nigeria’s benchmark for the sale of crude per barrel in 2024 is $77.96. A simple multiplication of that figure by 164.25 will give us a whopping $12bn.

“It is on this note that we are calling on the Federal Government to speak up on this shady deal.

“It is inconceivable that the Federal Government will lead the country to take a loan of $3.3b with an interest rate that is not more than 12 percent, but with estimated repayment amounting to $12bn.

“That is a humongous differential of about $7b between what is in the details of the deal on paper and what indeed is the reality.

“There are questions to be answered on the integrity of this deal, and we earnestly request the Federal Government to talk directly on these cloudy details behind the deal.”

Atiku therefore, “on behalf of the ordinary people of Nigeria,” urged the Federal Government to provide answers to the following questions:

” Has the Federal Government accessed the loan?

“Is the loan in the government’s borrowing plan as approved by the National Assembly?

“Who are the parties to the loan, and what specific roles are they expected to play?

“What are the conditions of the loan, including tenor, repayment terms, the collateral, and the interest rate?

“And, lastly, why register an SPV in the Bahamas knowing the recent scandal of the country’s notoriety for warehousing unclean assets?”