Atiku Demands Accountability from Tinubu over NNPCL’s $3.3 Billion Loan Deal

The PDP’s presidential candidate for 2023, Atiku Abubakar, has challenged President Bola Tinubu to explain the details of the Nigerian National Petroleum Company Limited’s (NNPCL) $3.3 billion loan deal that was secured on August 16, 2023.

The loan deal, arranged by the African Export-Import Bank, was meant to boost the naira and stabilize the foreign exchange market, as well as support the Federal Government’s monetary and fiscal reforms. The Federal Government received $2.25 billion of the $3.3 billion foreign exchange facility from the bank three weeks ago.

However, in a statement released on Thursday, Atiku Abubakar expressed his concerns over the lack of transparency and accountability regarding this huge financial deal, with the only available information coming from sources within the NNPCL. He pointed out that the deal is being facilitated by a Special Purpose Vehicle (SPV) named Project Gazelle Funding Limited, which was registered in the Bahamas.

Atiku’s call for accountability highlights the need for clear and honest management of the country’s financial resources, especially in large-scale transactions involving national assets like crude oil.

He said, “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.”

He added, “What is even more puzzling 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.

“Interestingly, 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 reaches 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 unbelievable 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 huge difference of about $7b between what is in the details of the deal on paper and what is actually the reality.”

Atiku insisted that there are questions to be answered on the integrity of this deal, and urged the Federal Government to talk directly on the details behind the deal.

He 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 reputation for hiding dirty assets?”

This is a serious and alarming story of how a presidential candidate is demanding accountability from the president over a questionable loan deal involving the country’s oil company. We hope that the Federal Government will respond to the questions raised and provide the necessary information to the public.

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