The government of Sierra Leone has received from the Arab Bank for Economic Development in Africa (BADEA) a total debt relief amounting to $ 9, 766,350.28 (Nine million, seven hundred and sixty six thousand three hundred and fifty united states dollars) under the enhanced Heavily Indebted Poor Countries (HIPC) Initiative.
In his remarks the Deputy Minister of Finance and Economic Development Momodu Kargbo at the signing ceremony of the rescheduling agreement between Sierra Leone and BADEA on Friday, said that the signing ceremony is another milestone in developmental cooperation.
He disclosed that, the debt relief came as a result of BADEA’s willingness to participate in the HIPC initiative in line with other multilateral financing institutions such as the IMF, the World Bank and the African Development Bank.
The Deputy Minister noted that the mode of delivery of the relief is based on concessionary rescheduling of outstanding loans already disbursed, disbursement from new loans or from further rescheduling of arrears, similar to the approach adopted by the Kuwait fund.
Mr Kargbo disclosed that five loans have been selected for rescheduling and these are the operations of Kent- Tokeh Road Project, Njala University Project, Western Area Power Phase one, rehabilitation of Kabala water supply project and phase two project.
The rescheduling process he said, involves applying new terms to the selected loans, making them highly concessional until the full debt is actually delivered.
The Deputy Ministers said this will further reduce our manual debt service obligations, thereby creating the fiscal space to address our urgent development needs consistent with our poverty reduction strategy.
The Director General of BADEA Mr Abdelaziz Khelef said that, BADEA’s financing operations have expanded since 1975, reaching $3,439.237 million by the end of March 2008.
He added that to date, BADEA contributed to the financing of a total of 14 development operations in Sierra Leone, including nine projects and three technical assistance operations.
Mr Khelef disclosed that Sierra Leone has also benefited from financing 29 regional training opportunities within the framework of BADEA technical assistance program.
He prayed that BADEA continues its development activities in Sierra Leone, in financing operations that contributes to the socio economic development of the country.