The governor of the Bank of Mozambique, Rogério Zandamela, announced that “four or five” commercial banks in the country are exposed to the hidden debts that have already led the country into default twice.
“To date, it has not been a problem: only a very small percentage of this debt is in commercial banks. If I am not mistaken, there are four or five banks that have some in their portfolios,” the governor said.
“I would very much like to be able to say which banks are involved, but there are issues of confidentiality,” he added, saying that it would be “reckless and negligent” to advance further information. The direct impact of the debts on banks’ portfolios would depend on the amounts involved, he said, but so far, he reaffirmed, it has not been a problem for the Mozambican financial system.
“National institutions have levels of capital and liquidity to support any risk that exists from the these debts,” he added, speaking during a Monetary Policy Committee press conference.
The case of hidden debts involves loans taken out by ProIndicus, Mozambique Asset Management (MAM) and Empresa Moçambicana de Atum (Ematum) and guaranteed by the Mozambican government in 2013 and 2014 in the amount of US$1.4 billion, plus another US$727.5 million resulting from the issuing of sovereign debt securities covering Ematum liabilities. The loans were approved without the knowledge of the Assembly of the Republic or international donors.
The disclosure of the loans led the International Monetary Fund (IMF) and major international donors to suspend aid to the country, subjecting the resumption of support to an independent audit now ongoing.
In January, the Mozambican state failed to pay the nearly US$60 million yearly instalment of US$727.5 million sovereign debt issued in April last year, while in March, Proindicus failed to pay a US$119.2 million instalment on its US$622 million loan, causing Mozambique to again fall into financial default with investors. Renegotiations are expected to take place after the independent audit is completed.
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