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Nigeria: Finance minister, Zainab Ahmed, confirms buying N1.4 billion vehicles for Niger on President Buhari’s order

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Amidst wave of outrage over news that the Federal of Government of Nigeria purchasing vehicles for Niger Republic, the Nigerian government has confirmed it actually did.

The Nigerian government admitted it indeed purchased vehicles worth N1.4 billion to help Niger tackle insecurity.

Nigeria’s Minister of Finance, Budget, and National Planning, Zainab Ahmed confirmed the position on Wednesday after the Federal Executive Council (FEC) meeting presided over by the President Muhammadu Buhari.

“This is not the first time that Nigeria has supported Niger, Cameroon or Chad, and the President makes an assessment as to what is required, based on the request of their president and such requests are approved and the interventions provided is to enhance their capacity to protect their own territory as it relates to security also to Nigeria.

“Nigerians have a right to ask questions, but also the President has a responsibility to make an assessment of what is in the best interests of the country. And I cannot question that decision.” Ahmed said.

Documents emerged on social media on Tuesday that showed that the president approved the release of the funds on February 22, 2022, for the Niger Republic.

The minister revealed that the decision was at the prerogative of President Muhammadu Buhari who approved the purchase.

Minister Ahmed explained that providing intervention to the neighboring Niger Republic is not new. She added that the financial support, which is primarily for the purpose of enhancing capacity to protect their territory, based on a request by the Nigerien Government, is also in the best interest of the country.

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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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