Economist Intelligence Unit forecasts a contraction of 2.2% for Mozambique’s economy in 2019
File photo: Lusa
The chairman of the Russian bank VTB, one of the funders of Mozambique’s hidden debts, has said that discussions are taking place to reach an agreement on the issue and that by the end of the year he would go to Maputo to assess new investments.
“We discussed plans for the future. We are interested in investing in the country,” Andrey Kostin told journalists in Sochi, Russia, after a meeting with the Mozambican president, Filipe Nyusi, on the margins of the Russia-Africa summit that the head of state will participate in.
To this end, he said he had asked Nyusi for help with opportunities in the gas, coal, energy and agriculture and other sectors, in which it would be possible to invest together with Russian companies.
He said he would go to Mozambique by the end of the year to continue the contacts.
On Mozambique’s debt, it was decided to continue discussing the matter and find a solution, he added.
Andrey Kostin denied having issued an ultimatum to Mozambique in September for the country to pay back the $535 million loan (around €480 million) revealed in 2016 when it was known that the total amount of the country’s undeclared debts amounted to $2.2 billion (around €2 billion).
“We cannot give ultimatums to our Mozambican friends. Our idea is to work together and not to give ultimatums,” he said.
The position contrasts with statements made on 5 September.
“If our colleagues in Mozambique do not take measures to speed up this process, we will have to declare” in default the loan of $535 million made to a Mozambican public company, said Andrey Kostin in statements to journalists, on the margins of an economic event in Vladivostok, Russia.
Of the $2.2 billion of hidden debts, Mozambique has reached a restructuring agreement with holders of securities (‘Eurobonds’) that are equivalent to around a third of the total value.
As for the rest of the amount, Mozambique’s attorney general’s office (PGR) is filing lawsuits in London against Credit Suisse and VTB, demanding that they did not receive the value of the loans and that they pay compensation for the crisis they helped to create.
At the heart of the hidden debt scandal in 2013 and 2014 are three public companies (Ematum, MAM and Proindicus) created by the Mozambican government for fishing, maritime safety and maintenance activities, but which have never happened and which have served as a front for a corruption scheme being tried in the US.