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Liberian domestic debt hits $708m according to Finance Minister

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The Liberian Deputy Finance Minister for Economic Management, Augustus Flomo, has disclosed that the country’s domestic debt portfolio has risen to $708 million since December 2021.

Flomo, in an address to the country’s parliament on Saturday, said it would “take the government 10 years to pay back the $708 million in full,” also adding that due to the increase of the domestic debt, his ministry will have to adhere to President George Weah’s decision not to borrow any funds from the Central Bank of Liberia (CBL) to pay off the current debt.

The Liberian Daily Observer reports that President Weah had put a block on borrowing money from the Central Bank since 2019.

While responding to a question on the country’s domestic debt profile by a lawmaker, Senator Abraham Darius Dillon when he appeared before the Senate Committee on Ways, Means, and Finance, Flomo said the Liberian government so far owes the CBL $233 million, the National Social Security and Welfare Corporation (NASSCORP) $50 million, and commercial banks $55 million.

“After the President ordered in 2019 that no money be credited from the CBL, further debts were calculated and imputed to the government grant, totaling $708 million,” Flomo said.

The Minister, however, said that the government has set aside $72 million for domestic debt in the 2020–2021 budget and another $69 million in the 2022 budget to help the country pay its debts.

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Nigeria: President Buhari makes U-turn on approval of Exxon unit acquisition by Seplat

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Nigeria’s President Muhammadu Buhari has made a U-turn in his earlier position that grant approval of Exxon Mobil’s  sale of local offshore shallow water assets to Seplat.

President Buhari had on Monday approved the $1.28 billion transaction, only for the Nigerian Upstream Petroleum Regulatory Commission to say it opposed the deal, although it did not give a reason.

Presidential spokesman Garba Shehu, told newsmen that “the president has decided to allow the regulator to do their work. He is withholding his earlier given approval, for now, to allow the process to be completed, that is basically it.”

In February, Seplat Energy Plc, unveiled plans to acquire the entire share capital of Mobil Producing Nigeria Unlimited (MPNU) from Exxon Mobil Corporation Delaware (USA Incorporated). That includes all of Exxon’s entire shallow water assets in the Niger Delta.

Seplat on its side said it is yet to received no official notification of President Buhari’s U-turn and is seeking clarification from authorities.

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Nigeria climbs to fourth position on World Bank’s list of most indebted nations

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Nigeria has moved into the fourth position of World Bank’s list of countries with the highest debts, according to the Bank’s financisl report released on Monday.

Going by the World Bank Fiscal Year 2022 audited financial statements for International Development Association (IDA), Nigeria now owes a debt stock of $13bn as at June 30, 2022.

The country also moved up one spot from the fifth position it was rated as of June 30, 2021, with an IDA debt stock of $11.7bn.

The global bank also revealed in its audited financial statements that Nigeria has accumulated about $1.3bn IDA debt within a fiscal year, adding that the debt is different from the outstanding loan of $486m from the World Bank’s International Bank for Reconstruction and Development.

What this means is that Nigeria now has the highest IDA debt in Africa, and is only bettered by the likes India with $19.7bn debt, Bangladesh, $18bn
and Pakistan, $15.8bn, all from the Asian bloc.

The Washington-based international Financial Institution also disclosed that Nigeria’s debt which may be considered sustainable for now, is fast growing into a state of vulnerability and could become costly.

“Nigeria’s debt remains sustainable, albeit vulnerable and costly, especially due to large and growing financing from the Central Bank of Nigeria,” it said.

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