Luanda, Angola, 22 July – The Angolan State currently owes around US$2 billion to companies in the public works sector, the country’s Finance Minister, Severim de Morais told Portuguese news agency Lusa in Luanda Wednesday.
“During this year that delay (in payment of debts) will be totally resolved,” the Angolan minister said.
“We don’t want the debt to pass over to 2010,” said Severim de Morais, justifying the situation with the fact that state revenues had fallen due to recent falls in the price of oil on the international market.
The drop in revenues from the oil sector, which had a strong negative impact in the last few months with the price per barrel falling from US$147 in July 2008 to around 30 percent at the beginning of this year, led to the international reserves of the Angolan state to fall by around US$20 billion in December of last year to the current level of “US$12 .2 or 12.3 billion,” the minister said.
However, Severim de Morais told Lusa, “this reality (of payments to companies) depends on the State’s revenues and these have been rising. So long as the revenues rise, we will honour our committments.”
With the price of oil at around US$70 per barrel and the benchmark price per barrel in the rectified General State Budget at US$37, the State now has some leeway to pay off its debts.
According to Severim de Morais, there are also some delays related to payment via ordinary treasury resources, which began to be felt, “from December of last year.”
In relation to these payments, Severim de Morais said that the Angolan government would provide “large amounts” of funding to “at least minimise those delays.” (macauhub)