A document from the Debt Management Office has said that the federal government sealed $5.575 billion loan agreements with the Export-Import Bank of China between 10 December 2010 and 29 May 2018. This is amid fiscal pressure that threatened the FG’s capacity to fund capital projects. Of the total loan agreements wrapped up with the timeframe, the document showed that China EXIM bank had already disbursed $3.313 billion while the FG was left with an outstanding loan of $3.121 billion. Since the 20 December 2010 loan agreement was first closed, DMO said the FG had paid $192.21 million as part of the principal and $269.68 million as interest on different loans obtained as at 31 March 2020 as the document showed that the facilities were sealed with the following terms of the agreement: 2.5% interest rate; seven-year period of grace and a 20-year period of maturity. With Nigeria’s rising exposure to external debt valued at $27.676 billion as of March 2020, Transparency International has decried Nigeria’s government borrowing spree despite huge resources wasted by ministries, departments, and agencies. Under the administration of President Buhari, for instance, the DMO’s document said the FG applied for $2.591 billion between 26 August 2016 and 29 May 2018, a period of one year and nine months. The administration sealed a $325.67 million loan agreement with China EXIM Bank on 26 April 2016 for the purpose of developing 40 parboiled rice processing plants under the Federal Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development. However, the document showed that the bank never disbursed the $325.67 million loan, which the Federal Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development proposed to develop 40 parboiled rice processing plants nationwide. Out of the $1.267 billion loan sealed for on 18 August 2017, the bank only disbursed $759.84 million, which according to the DMO, constituted about 59.96% of the value contained in the loan agreement. Specifically, the document said that the Buhari administration wrapped up the $1.267 billion loan agreement for the purpose of executing the Lagos-Ibadan section of the railway modernisation project. Also, on 18 August 2017, among others, the Buhari administration agreed with China EXIM to borrow $480.82 million for the purpose of rehabilitating and upgrading Abuja-Keffi-Makurdi road project, the document said.

Data from BudgIT has shown that for every ₦100 shared to the Osun State government as revenue allocation from the federation account, ₦91 is deducted to service the debt. The development, according to analysts, indicates how the state’s fiscal crisis has moved from bad to worse. BudgiT said that of the ₦6.44 billion Osun received as revenue from FAAC in the month of January through March, ₦5.87 billion of the amount went to servicing its debt. The development is coming to fore even as the state has been grappling with years of backlogs of unpaid salaries owing to failure of the government to judiciously harness the revenue potential of huge human and capital resources. The state may even be on the brink of seeking life support, analysts have said. Osun also has the highest deduction done ever on any of the 36 states as a percentage of federal allocations, showing how terrible the fiscal situation of the state is at present. A 91 percent federal allocation deducted in servicing the states debt profile would leave the state with only about 9 percent of the revenue to be used as expenditure on health, education and other financial obligations for its over 4.6 million people, according to BusinessDay estimate. This burden on the state could have been a bit lighter but for the government’s inability to look inward and grow its stream of internally generated revenues.

The World Bank has approved $114 million to help Nigeria tackle the spread of coronavirus pandemic in the country, the global lender said on Friday. The fund comes in the form of a $100 million loan and a $14 million grant to be split between Nigeria’s 36 states and federal-level procurement of medical equipment, tests, and medicine. Nigeria, as of 9 August 2020 recorded 46,140 confirmed coronavirus cases and 942 deaths. Some serious concerns have been raised about the country’s testing capacity, which though has improved is still regarded as inadequate. The World Bank’s director for Nigeria, Shubham Chaudhuri, said the country has ramped up its efforts to contain the COVID-19 outbreak, but more needs to be done at the state level, which is at the front line of the response.” He added that the grants to states would be conditional on states adopting COVID-19 response strategies in line with the FG guidelines and strategies.

Six French tourists and their local guide and driver were killed Sunday by gunmen riding motorcycles in an area of southwestern Niger that is home to the last West African giraffes, officials said. It is believed to be the first such attack on tourists in the area, a popular attraction in the former French colony thanks to its unique population of West African or Niger giraffes. “There are eight dead: two Nigeriens including a guide and a driver, while the other six are French,” the governor of the Tillaberi region Tidjani Ibrahim Katiella told AFP. “We are managing the situation, we will give more information later,” Tidjani Ibrahim Katiella said, without indicating who was behind the attack. A source close to the environmental services told the news agency that the assault took place at around 11:30 am (1030 GMT) six kilometres (four miles) east of the town of Koure, which is an hour’s drive from the capital Niamey.