Flag-bearer of the People’s Democratic Party (PDP) in the 2023 presidential election, Mr. Atiku Abubakar has said that President Bola Tinubu’s administration owes Nigerians explanation for the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC) $3.3 billion emergency loan.
Mr. Atiku made this known on his X, formerly Twitter account on Thursday, stressing that the deal is supposed to be handled by the African Export-Import Bank.
“In what appears to be a landmark economic decision of the Bola Tinubu-led administration, the Federal Government last year, precisely on August 16, 2023 through the Nigeria National Petroleum Company (NNPC) secured a $3.3 billion emergency crude repayment loan, which according to the NNPC, was to help give support to the Naira and stabilize the Foreign Exchange market.
“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,” he stated.
According to him, a Special Purpose Vehicle (SPV) called Project Gazelle Funding Limited initiated 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 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.”
The former Vice President also stated that the current Barrels Produced Daily (BPD) in Nigeria 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.”
He asked the Federal Government to provide details on the deal so as to keep the citizens abreast of what is happening in the sector.