Presidency Responds to Atiku’s Concerns on NNPC’s $3.3 Billion Emergency Loan

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By Iyojo Ameh

The Presidency has addressed the queries raised by Atiku Abubakar, the 2023 presidential candidate of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), regarding the $3.3 billion emergency crude repayment loan secured by the Nigerian National Petroleum Company Limited (NNPCL).

The loan, secured on August 16, 2023, through a transaction facilitated by the African Export-Import Bank, aimed at shoring up the naira and stabilizing the foreign exchange market. Notably, $2.25 billion of the facility was received by the Federal Government three weeks ago.

Responding to Atiku’s call for transparency, the presidential aide, Otega Ogra, emphasized that President Bola Tinubu’s administration has consistently provided information on the loan, also known as Project Gazelle.

Ogra clarified that the financing agreement, facilitated by a Special Purpose Vehicle named Project Gazelle Funding Limited, incorporated in the Bahamas, involves prepaying future royalties and taxes to the federal government.

According to Ogra, this forward-thinking financial strategy aligns NNPC Limited’s operational needs with broader economic goals, utilizing future crude oil sales for immediate funding. He noted that the project demonstrates NNPC Limited’s operational autonomy and financial acumen, contributing to Nigeria’s foreign exchange reserves and minimizing the impact on future earnings.

Ogra emphasized that the repayments are strategically planned and tied to future oil sales, with conservative pricing in oil sales contracts to mitigate risks associated with oil price volatility.

The Presidency asserts that Project Gazelle showcases a proactive approach, ensuring liquidity while potentially enhancing Nigeria’s credit rating.

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