The World Bank may not approve Nigeria’s request for a $1.5 billion loan in August due to concerns over desired reforms, unidentified sources told Reuters. The sources said the main concern being expressed by the World Bank is naira reform. Both the World Bank and International Monetary Fund had advised Nigeria to float its currency and allow market forces to determine the value of the naira. The report from Reuters said the World Bank which had aimed to bring the loan request to its board for approval this August could now delay it till October. The delay from the lenders could leave Nigeria battered by low crude prices, unable to fully finance a record ₦10.8 trillion or $28.35 billion budget. The CBN has said that the country’s balance of payments gap this year will be $14 billion. Although the World Bank has not outlined any demands, fuel subsidies and electricity tariffs were also said to be a part of the discussions. It had said Nigeria could be heading toward its greatest fiscal crisis in 40 years. The CBN has devalued the naira twice in 2020 and the federal executive council, in July, approved the removal of petrol subsidy. Nigeria’s finance ministry was reported to have directed queries to the World Bank and while the Bretton Wood institution said discussions had reached an advanced stage, it confirmed that the loan request had not been presented to its board.
New CBN data says the value of loans given to the private sector by Nigerian banks increased by ₦3.5 trillion from ₦16.251 trillion in June 2019 to ₦18.632 trillion as at the end of May 2020. The growth represents an increase of 21.53%. The breakdown of the data showed that at the end of June 2019, a total of ₦15.13 trillion was given to the private sector. The figure increased to ₦15.61 trillion by the end of July 2019 before dropping to ₦15.56 trillion at the end of August 2019. Out of the total ₦18.63 trillion credit to the private sector in May 2020, the oil and gas industry, downstream, natural gas and crude oil refining attracted ₦3.60 trillion. This was followed by the Manufacturing sector which attracted ₦1.99 trillion within the same period and the General Services segment that attracted ₦1.60 trillion in May 2020. The Finance, Insurance and Capital market segment followed with a ₦1.32 trillion credit. The Oil and Gas sector, upstream oil and gas services, attracted ₦1.29 trillion in May 2020 while Trade and General Commerce attracted ₦1.25 trillion. According to a member of the apex bank’s MPC, Kingsley Obiora, the credits were driven by demands from the manufacturing sector, consumer credit, general commerce, information and communication, and agriculture, among others. The report said that during the year, credit to the private sector reached the highest in May 2020 at ₦18.53 trillion while credit to the government rose to the highest at ₦1.55 trillion in January 2020. A closer look shows that credit to the government was at its lowest at ₦1.21 trillion by August 2019.
Nigeria is making concerted efforts to stop Enron Nigeria Power Holding (ENPH) from enforcing a $22 million arbitration award that could risk the country’s assets in the United States, according to reporting by The Cable. ENPH, a subsidiary of the defunct Enron International, is seeking turnover of Nigeria’s claim to proceeds from an $80 million mega yacht that was sold in the US. In 2019, a US federal court had given Nigeria approval to sell the yacht, named “Galactica Star”, as part of an ongoing corruption case against Kola Aluko, a Nigerian businessman who allegedly acquired it with diverted profits from oil sales in Nigeria. The yacht has been sold for $37 million and ENPH is trying to lay claim to part of the proceeds in enforcing its $22 million arbitration award. Attorney-General of the Federation Abubakar Malami is now seeking approval from President Muhammadu Buhari to negotiate the award to protect the country’s assets. He told the president that ENPH could further target the country’s assets in California, New York and other states in America. In early December 1999, ENPH had entered a power purchase agreement (PPA) with the Lagos state government, guaranteed by the FG through the now-defunct National Electric Power Authority (NEPA), now Power Holding Company of Nigeria (PHCN) to build, arrange, finance and run electricity generating plants and natural gas pipelines in Lagos state. NEPA suspended the PPA later that month for renegotiation. However, construction continued and by September 30, 2000, phases one and three of the contract were completed while negotiation for phase two failed. Enron International had gone bankrupt by this time but it wrote Abuja that it would not affect its Nigeria arm, in carrying out the contract. After several failed attempts at negotiating, ENPH commenced arbitration against Nigeria in London in 2006. Six years later, a final award of $11.22 million was given against Nigeria with 2 percent interest running from June 13, 2006, as well as legal expenses. All attempts by the FG to negotiate the settlement failed.
Mali President Ibrahim Boubacar Keïta was arrested on Tuesday by mutinying soldiers in the capital Bamako, two security sources said. The arrest came after soldiers took up arms near Mali’s capital and staged an apparent mutiny amid an ongoing political crisis in the country. The soldiers on Tuesday fired their guns into the air in the base in Kati, a garrison town some 15km (nine miles) from Bamako, while witnesses said armoured tanks and military vehicles could be seen on its streets, according to media reports. Some senior government ministers and army officers were also reportedly under arrest but it was not clear by whom. It was also not immediately clear who was behind the unrest or where embattled President Ibrahim Boubacar Keita – who has faced weeks of opposition protests calling for his departure – was when it erupted. Reports said he had been taken to a safe location. In a statement, the West African bloc ECOWAS urged the soldiers “to return to their barracks without delay”. This mutiny comes at a time when, for several months now, ECOWAS has been taking initiatives and conducting mediation efforts with all the Malian parties,” the bloc said in a statement. Government ministry buildings, offices of state television ORTM were evacuated, a government official said, and gunfire was heard near the prime minister’s office, according to a security source. A senior ORTM official said there have been no reports of any attack on state TV, which was still broadcasting pre-recorded programming. The mutiny comes amid Mali’s worst political crisis since the 2012 coup that toppled then-President Amadou Toumani Toure and contributed to the fall of northern Mali to jihadist militants. At least 14 people have been killed in the mass protests led by Keita’s opponents since June, according to the United Nations and human rights activists. The protesters were calling on Keita to resign over what they say are his failures to restore security and address corruption.