• Thursday, July 18, 2024
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Five things to know to start your Wednesday


Nigeria to miss out of China’s loan waiver, $10bn offer in IMF fund

Nigeria and a few African countries are likely to miss out on China’s latest loan waiver. The loan waiver, which is targeted at 23 interest-free loans, does not capture the concessional loans category, which Nigeria’s loan agreement with China falls into.

“The total borrowing from China of USD 3.121 billion as at March 31, 2020, are concessional Loans with Interest Rates of 2.50% p.a., Tenor of twenty (20) years, and a grace period (moratorium) of seven (7) years.” A statement from the Debt Management Office (DMO) of Nigeria put credence to the status of Nigeria’s loan profile to China.

According to Bloomberg, which got the information through the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the People’s Republic of China, had said that the country, which is the largest national creditor to developing nations, is going to forgive 23 interest-free loans to 17 African countries.

The second-largest economy in the world behind the USA also said that it is willing to redirect $ 10 billion of its International Monetary Fund reserves to those African countries.

The cancellations were announced by Wang Yi, the Minister of Foreign Affairs, during the Forum on China-Africa Cooperation meeting held last week.

The Ministry didn’t provide details on the value of the loans, which it said matured at the end of 2021, nor did it state which nations owed the money.

Bloomberg also stated that a Johns Hopkins University School of Advanced International Studies publication stated that China had announced multiple rounds of debt forgiveness of interest-free loans to African countries, cancelling at least $3.4 billion of debt through 2019.

The cancelled debt was limited to mature, interest-free foreign aid loans, with Zambia receiving the most cancellations over that period.

However, the vast majority of China’s recent lending in Africa, such as concessional loans and commercial loans, has never been considered for cancellation, the report added, though some of it has been restructured.

The purpose of the cancellation is the upsurge in inflation caused by rising food and energy prices and supply-chain disruptions. Also added is the wave of interest rate increases by most central banks worldwide.

US to return $23m Abacha’s loot

The United States of America and Nigeria have entered into an agreement to return over $23 million of Abacha’s loot.

The agreement signing took place on Tuesday at the office of the Minister of Justice and Attorney General of the Federation. While Abubakar Malami, the Honourable Minister of Justice, signed on behalf of the Federal Government of Nigeria, Mary Beth, the US ambassador to Nigeria, signed on behalf of the US government.

Malami said that the money, when returned, will be used to fast track the pace of completion of two major ongoing projects, namely, the Abuja-Kaduna road and the 2nd Niger Bridge.

Since western countries and the Nigerian government entered into respective agreements to return stolen Abacha loot, over $3 billion has been returned so far. and an amount that has been invested in different infrastructural projects in the country.

The US said that this latest amount of money sent will increase the total amount forfeited to approximately $334.7 million.

Drug trafficking allegations against Tinubu are baseless – Muhammed Bulama

Muhammed Bulama, the All Progressive Congress (APC) spokesman, has said that the drug trafficking allegations levelled against Bola Ahmed Tinubu, the presidential candidate of the APC, are baseless and shouldn’t be taken seriously.

He said this on Tuesday during an interview on Channels TV. He went further to exonerate the former Lagos State governor from any claims of corruption widely circulated by his political enemies on social media.

“From 1999 to date, nobody has had any corruption case against him… They put him in the dark through the code of conduct bureau and he came out with his hands very clean,” he said.

He went on to say confidently that the allegations of corruption and drug trafficking are the work of his political opponents, who will go to any length to derail his ambition to become Nigeria’s next president.

“Mind you, if people think because Bola Ahmed Tinubu is comfortable and if they think that he made his money through corruption, let me refer Nigerians back to the fact that even before he stepped into politics in 1992, he was already a millionaire in dollars,” he went on.

“He had assets in America, he had homes in America, he had businesses in America. He was working for a first-class multinational company. He was very, very comfortable.

According to the Bulama, Tinubu’s undying love for servitude and undiluted patriotism have been the driving forces behind his decision to help the country, one of the reasons he was elected governor of Lagos State in 1999.

“As a matter of fact, the reason why Ahmed Tinubu ventured into politics was because he wanted to help his country. He wanted to help his community, he wanted to help his state, he wanted to help Nigeria. And that is exactly what he has done,” he said.

He admitted that as a hero of democracy and its values, the APC presidential flagbearer has given so much to the country and needs to be respected and supported in his ambition to take Nigeria to the promised land.

“This is a man who has made so many sacrifices for Nigeria, so many sacrifices for the ordinary people. A man who fought the military to a standstill is a hero to democracy. A man who came and transformed Lagos within the twinkle of an eye, he added.

He ended by labelling those promoting corruption allegations against him as mere propagandists.

Read also: Mixed reactions trail Atiku, Obi, Shettima NBA speeches

Peter Obi meets with Afenifere, Southern and Middle-Belt leaders

In an effort to expand his appeal among the political elite, Peter Obi, the presidential candidate of the Labour Party (LP), met with the leadership of the Afenifere Pan-social cultural group and members of the South and Middle Belt Leadership Forum on Tuesday.

Obi, who tweeted about his meeting with Pa Ayo Adebanjo of the Afenifere, noted that the meeting was not only a success but a great opportunity to share ideas about how to rescue Nigeria. Accompanying him were the national leaders of the Labour Party, alongside other stakeholders.

Even though the agenda wasn’t clearly stated, many speculated that it wasn’t far from the 2023 general election and a possible endorsement of the candidacy of the former Anambra State Governor.

World Bank gives $300m grant to Mozambique after scandal

The World Bank, convinced by the ongoing effort of Mozambique to clean up its image, on Monday gave $300 million to the country.

According to the lender, the grant is to support the country’s effort to provide much-needed infrastructure facilities that should drive economic activities and improve the living conditions of the population.

Mozambique’s finance minister, Max Tonela, appreciated the bank for believing in the government’s transparency efforts and willingness to help the country in these difficult times. “This is the first funding to support the state budget that we hope for in the next three years,” Tonela added during the signing of the agreement in Maputo.

Meanwhile, Idah Pswarayi-Riddihough, the World Bank’s country director for Mozambique, insisted that the funds given by his organisation should come “in support of structural reforms” and extend the efforts undertaken in recent years to strengthen accountability and transparency in the public sector.

This grant comes after the International Monetary Fund (IMF) granted its first loan to Mozambique in May after the “hidden debt” scandal. This is according to Africannews.com