Monday, April 07, 2008
By NANCY MWAPE
FINANCE Bank Zambia (FBZ) says although Government has not yet approached it to finance the supply of US$ 1.2 billion worth of crude oil, its doors are open for the deal. FBZ director for institutional, corporate banking and marketing, Noel Nkoma said in an interview on Friday in Lusaka that his bank was among those that tendered for the procurement of oil on behalf of the Zambian Government. Mr Nkoma also said FBZ was aware through media reports that discussions between Government and Stanbic bank over the financing of the crude oil collapsed last week.
“We are aware through the media that discussions with Stanbic bank were terminated. We are yet to be notified by Government on how they hope to proceed with the deal, but our doors are still open,’’ he said.
Last week, Minister of Energy and Water Development, Kenneth Konga announced the termination of negotiations with Stanbic Bank, a unit of South Africa’s Standard Bank, which tendered to finance the supply of crude oil to Zambia.
Mr Konga said the discussions were terminated because Stanbic Bank could not make a decision before consulting its headquarters.
He accused Stanbic Bank of not being serious with the negotiations saying government could not spend the whole of the first quarter of 2008 bargaining for a financing agreement for the supply of crude oil.
“We are dealing with a very sensitive product; fuel, and we cannot afford wasting time with the financer.
The supplier for crude oil from Kuwait, Independent Petroleum Group (IPG) is ready but the problem is the financier,” Mr Konga said.
He said Zambia National Tender Board had given the ministry authority to start negotiating with any other financer.
“Right now we have not commenced negotiations with any other financier because the negotiations were only terminated on Wednesday.
I cannot confirm whether we shall start negotiations with Finance Bank, that has to be confirmed by the permanent secretary who is away,” Mr Konga said.