Former Vice President and 2023 presidential candidate of the Peoples Democratic Party, Atiku Abubakar, on Thursday, challenged President Bola Tinubu to account for the Nigerian National Petroleum Company Limited’s $3.3 billion emergency crude repayment loan.
NNPCL had on August 16, 2023 secured a $3.3 billion emergency crude repayment loan aimed at supporting the naira and stabilising the foreign exchange market.
The $3.3 billion crude-for-cash loan arranged by the African Export-Import Bank, was also targeted at supporting the Federal Government’s monetary and fiscal reforms.
Three weeks ago, the Federal Government received $2.25 billion out of the $3.3 billion FX facility from the African Export-Import Bank
But in his reaction in a statement on Thursday, Atiku expressed surprise that the information available to the public on the mega-deal is coming from NNPCL sources only.
He alleged that a Special Purpose Vehicle called Project Gazelle Funding Limited, incorporated in the Bahamas, is driving the deal.
According to Atiku, “SPV is the borrower while the NNPCL 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 per cent.
“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 whooping $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.”
The former vice president insisted that there are questions to be answered on the integrity of the deal.
He therefore charged the Federal Government to talk directly on details behind the deal.
Atiku further asked, “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?”