In a report dated September 27, Reuters revealed that AfreximBank is actively reaching out to oil traders to secure a $3 billion loan. This loan is intended to strengthen Nigeria’s oil company, Nigerian National Petroleum Company Limited (NNPCL), and stabilize the depreciating naira.
According to Reuters, AfreximBank has initiated discussions with various traders in recent weeks to gauge their interest in providing funding through an oil-backed loan for the NNPCL. The bank is dedicated to formulating precise terms for this financial arrangement.
An oil industry executive, who is intimately involved in the negotiations, disclosed that there is considerable interest among traders, contingent upon the final terms. The executive also emphasized that a rise in oil prices, particularly if they cross the $90 per barrel threshold, would boost enthusiasm for participating in this arrangement.
Under this prospective arrangement, traders willing to invest would be reimbursed with physical oil cargoes. The bank is actively strategizing to determine the quantity of oil that will be allocated to these traders in exchange for their financial support.
Back on August 16, 2023, the NNPCL and AfreximBank made a joint announcement from Cairo, Egypt, officially committing to a $3 billion loan for the repayment of crude oil. This loan aimed to empower the NNPCL to support the Federal Government’s fiscal and monetary policy reforms, specifically targeting the stabilization of the exchange rate market.
Contrary to misconceptions, the loan did not involve a crude-for-refined products swap. Instead, it constituted an upfront cash loan, secured against future proceeds from a designated fraction of crude oil production. The government ensured that the NNPCL’s exposure was carefully controlled and limited.
Importantly, there were no sovereign guarantees tied to this loan, highlighting a cautious approach. The government projected positive effects on the naira’s strength, including reduced fuel costs, which would benefit the population by curbing potential price escalations.
The repayment strategy for this substantial $3 billion loan involves using a specified portion of proceeds from prospective crude oil production, aligning with the Tinubu administration’s strategic vision. This approach balances immediate economic needs with fortifying future production capabilities, showcasing prudent financial foresight.