Picture: JEREMY GLYN
Picture: JEREMY GLYN

Moscow — The outlook for a restructuring of $2bn of controversial borrowing by Mozambique state companies will be better in 2018 as the country receives more earnings from its energy resources, says a senior Mozambican diplomat.

An IMF delegation has arrived in Mozambique to follow up on a damning external audit into loans that were not cleared through parliament.

The discovery of the loans prompted the IMF and western donors to end budgetary support for Mozambique, leading to a collapse of its currency and defaults on its debt.

Creditors including Russian bank VTB and Credit Suisse, which arranged the controversial $2bn loans, are waiting for restructuring to start.

"It is important we restructure Mozambique’s debt to VTB. I think that next year, things will be different," said Mario Saraiva Ngwenya, Mozambique’s ambassador to Russia.

"We have started to get some money from some oil and gas contracts," he said.

Mozambique has large natural gas reserves in which international energy firms have bought stakes. Earlier in 2017, Italy’s Eni signed an $8bn deal to develop a gas field off the coast of Mozambique.

VTB said on Thursday it was open to dialogue with Mozambican officials with the aim of reaching a settlement that met conditions imposed by the IMF for debt sustainability.

"We have proposed several different restructuring options to the government of Mozambique. Currently, the involved parties are waiting for the IMF debt sustainability assessment; this will allow for the restructuring talks to fully begin," VTB said.

Ngwenya said there had been preliminary talks between officials from Mozambique’s finance ministry and VTB Capital, the investment-banking arm of VTB.

Reuters

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