E696 MILLION EMERGENCY FOOD PRODUCTION LOAN BILL TABLED

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E696 MILLION EMERGENCY FOOD PRODUCTION LOAN BILL TABLED
E696 MILLION EMERGENCY FOOD PRODUCTION LOAN BILL TABLED

Africa-Press – Eswatini. The country is looking to secure yet another loan from the African Development Bank. This time around the required loan, according to a loan Bill tabled in Parliament by the Minister of Finance Neal Rijkenberg last week is intended to finance Emergency Food Production.

The loan Bill which was tabled with a certificate of urgency has been referred to the Ministry of Finance Portfolio Committee. The loan amount to be raised according to the bill must not exceed E696 591 174 (US$40 490 000).

The Bill states that the proceeds of the loan shall be paid into, and shall form part of the Consolidated Fund or such other public fund existing or specifically established for the purpose of the loan, as the ministry may determine.

Some of the conditions of the loan according to the Bill is that the borrower shall repay the loan in 40 equal and consecutive semi-annual installments after a grace period of five years. The country has a number of loans with the African Development Bank, one of them include the E720 million loan for the Manzini region Water Supply and Sanitation Project.

In July the African Development Bank Group’s Board of Directors approved 24, fast-track programmes to help Africa mitigate rising food prices and inflation caused by Russia’s war in Ukraine, climate change and the Covid-19 pandemic.

According to a statement issued by AfDB the first round of approvals was part of the bank’s $1.5 billion African Emergency Food Production Facility, established in May to boost food security, nutrition and resilience across the continent.

“The facility will provide 20 million African smallholder farmers with certified seeds and increased access to agricultural fertilizers. It will also support governance and policy reforms, which is expected to encourage greater investment in Africa’s agricultural sector. The African Emergency Food Production Facility will enable African farmers to produce 38 million additional tonnes of food over the next two years.

This is food worth an estimated US$12 billion,” the statement read. It was disclosed that as of July15, the group’s Board of Directors had approved a total of $1.13 billion in mixed financing for Emergency Facility programmes targeting 24 countries: eight countries in West Africa; five in East Africa; six in Southern Africa; four in Central Africa and one in North Africa. Eswatini is among the countries that stand to benefit from these funds.

The ministry of finance preliminary debt figures show that as at June 30 total public debt stood at E27 564 billion which is an equivalent of 38.50 per cent of GDP. This according to the ministry is composed of domestic debt amounting to E16.60 billion which is equivalent to 23.18 of GDP and external debt amounting to E10.96 billion, which is equivalent to 15.31 per cent of GDP.

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