What impact could COVID-19-related events have on my contractual relationships?

To assess the impact of any COVID-19-related events on contractual relationships it should first be checked whether the contract provides for solutions regarding this type of event (e.g., force majeure clauses that cover epidemics, change in circumstances clauses, clauses for the suspension or extension of deadlines in light of non-attributable events, etc.) and/or what is the regime under the law governing the contract (which in principle may or may not be Equatorial Guinea law) regarding changes in circumstances or impossible performance.

We note in particular that under Decree 42/2020, as a measure related to public-private partnerships and provision of services, the Ministry of Finance was put in charge of (inter alia) reviewing all public contracts (including supply, technical assistance, advertising and general services’ contracts) in force until de end of 2020, and of supressing, if appropriate, contracts automatically renewable. The Ministry of Finance was likewise put in charge of preparing a listing of the contracts in force in Strategic Sectors (including inter alia Defence, Security, Mines, Energy and Telecommunications) to assess (inter alia) the level of commitments that they entail.

Decree 43/2020 also provides, as a measure relating to public spending, that, considering the status of Public Finances and due to force majeure, the Government will reorganize its spending to avoid delays, as well as that, accordingly, save for those projects that the Government declares that have maximum priority, a Certification Committee together with awarding companies will reschedule public spending obligations so that they are only due in the second semester of 2020.

 

Are there any temporary COVID-19-related measures applicable to lease agreements?

Yes. To the best of our knowledge, the only lease agreement-specific measure approved in Equatorial Guinea to mitigate the impact of COVID-19 in the Country was enacted by Decree 43/2020 and solely applies to companies that qualify as SMC that lease public trade shops at the Malabo and Bata International Airports: for the duration of the restrictions to fly over national airspace, the aforementioned companies are exempt from paying 50% of the monthly rent established in their contracts.

 

 

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This information is being updated on a regular basis.

All information contained herein and all opinions expressed are of a general nature and are not intended to substitute recourse to expert legal advice for the resolution of real cases.