By Yusef Taylor, @FlexDan_YT
Two loan agreements were ratified by the Gambia’s National Assembly in late July 2022 from the Kuwait Fund for Arab Economic Development (BADEA) for the widening of the Bertil-Harding Road Project and the Islamic Development Bank (IsDB) Loan for the development of the University of the Gambia’s Faraba Campus.
Gainako Online News has accessed both of the loan agreements which total a whopping US$27 million. This is equivalent to D1.431 billion at a rate of D53 to US$1.
According to the loan agreement document the Kuwait Fund for Arab Development Loan amounts to a total of Six million Kuwaiti Dinars equivalent to US$20 million and is referred to as the “BADEA Loan”. This is equivalent to D1.06 billion.
The loan agreement references a separate loan agreement referred to as the “Islamic Bank” totalling US$14 Million.
Schedule 2 of the Loan Agreement notes that “the aim of the project is to enhance the social and economic development, by widening Bertil Harding Road from Sting Corner to the Airport Junction which will contribute in meeting the increasing demand on traffic”.
According to the loan agreement “the Project consists of construction works to widen the existing 22-kilometre Bertil Harding Road to become an asphalted road with two lanes in each direction (each lane being 3.5 meters wide), and a service lane in each direction which is 4 meters wide”.
The project description also highlights that “the project is expected to be completed by the end of 2024”.
A number of interest payments are included in the loan agreement. If the loan is paid in time two interest payments apply. The first interest payment is 1% per annum on the principal amount of the Loan withdrawn and another ½ % per annum on the amounts withdrawn from the loan for administrative expenses and expenses of implementing the agreement. This means a total of 1.5% is included in the loan charges.
With regards to repayment terms, a grace period of 3 years is included and that “the amount of principal withdrawn from the loan shall be repaid in fifty (50) semi-annual instalments”. The fifty (50) repayments are detailed in a schedule in the loan agreement.
US$7 million IsDB Loan for Faraba UTG Campus
The second loan agreement is from the Islamic Development Bank and amounts to a total of US$7 million for the project which is estimated to be executed over a period of 18 months from the date of the first disbursement. This is equivalent to D371 million at a rate of D53 to US$1.
The project description notes that three Departments will be built in Faraba Banta in addition to other services that will be financed by the fund. More specifically the civil works listed in the project description include the construction of the “School of Agriculture and Environment, School of Law, Chancellery Building, Preliminary and External Works”.
The loan agreement also includes “provision of furniture and equipment, supervision’s consultancy services and audit services”.
It’s important to note that Article 1 of Schedule 1 states that “the [total] cost of the project is estimated at US$22 million. It is proposed that IsDB participates in financing this project for a total of US$7 million through an IsDB Loan”.
The repayment terms indicate that the loan shall be paid within 25 years including a seven (7) years grace period. The agreement notes that a service fee of ID 104,993.21 [Islamic Dinar] shall be paid from the date of the agreement. However, article 4.4 of the loan agreement notes that the Service Fee shall not exceed 1.18% of the approved amount when calculated on annual basis.
Two tables in Schedule 3 and 4 have tabulated the repayment dates and principal payments due and the Service Fee payments due in Islamic Dinar.
It can be recalled that Gainako first broke the news that the Ministry of Higher Education Research Studies and Technology secured a US$22 million funding gap for the construction of the University of the Gambia’s Faraba Campus in June 2022. This was revealed during a trip to Egypt for the IsDB’s 2022 Annual meeting attended by two Ministers and the Governor of the Central Bank amongst others.
According to the report the US$7 million was secured from the IsDB while the outstanding US$15 million was secured from BADEA. To date, the IsDB US$7 million loan has been approved by Parliamentarians of the Sixth Legislature with the BADEA US$15 million loan secured more recently in June 2022 to be tabled at the National Assembly. It can be recalled that Gainako also broke the news that the Government had agreed to the US$7 million IsDB loan back in December 2021.