Buhari Gets Senate’s Nod to Borrow Additional $5.8bn

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By Aduragbemi Omiyale

President Muhammadu Buhari has received the Senate’s nod to borrow an additional $5.8 billion and get a $10 million grant from an international financial institution.

A statement issued by Mr Ezrel Tabiowo, Special Assistant on Press to the Senate President, Mr Ahmad Lawan, said the approval followed the consideration of a report by the Committee on Local and Foreign Debts chaired by Mr Clifford Ordia.

It was stated that the fresh loan request was made under the 2018-2020 External Borrowing (Rolling) plan by President Buhari through a letter dated May 6, 2021.

The central government plans to borrow $2.3 billion from the World Bank, another $2.3 billion from a German Consortium, $90 million from the Islamic Development, $786.4 million from the China Exim Bank, $277.0 million from the Bank of China, and $50 million from the International Fund for Agricultural Development.

Speaking at the plenary yesterday, Mr Ordia said a report was laid by his committee before the Senate in July 2021 recommending approval of the sum of $8.6 billion and €490.0 million.

He further recalled that the Senate at plenary in July 2021 approved financing for projects as recommended by the committee above whilst the team continued further legislative action and consideration of the outstanding request.

He added that on September 15, 2021, Mr Lawan read another letter from Mr Buhari containing an addendum to the 2018-2020 External Borrowing (Rolling) Plan in the sum of $4.1 billion, €710.0 million and a grant component of $125.0 million for various projects and same was also referred to the panel for further legislative action.

Consequently, Mr Ordia stated that a second report was laid by the Local and Foreign Debts Committee before the Senate in November 2021 recommending approval of the sum of $16.2 billion, €1.0 billion and a grant component of $125.0 million.

In accordance with the recommendation of the Committee, the Senate at Plenary in November 2021 approved the sum as financing for projects as recommended by the panel.

He explained that the request for the approval of $5.8 billion was part of the mandate of the Committee in respect of the 2018-2020 External Borrowing (Rolling) plan.

The Committee on Local and Foreign Debts in its observations noted the genuine concerns of Nigerians about the level of sustainability and serviceability of Nigeria’s borrowing within the last decade.

It nevertheless reiterated its stance on the need for a more proactive and broad-based approach to revenue enhancement related issues, adding that, “there are noticeable improvements in the country’s revenues.”

The committee underscored the need for rapid infrastructural and human capital development.

It noted that the projects to be financed with the loan would have a great multiplier effect on stimulating economic growth through infrastructure development, job creation, poverty alleviation, health care and improvement of the nation’s security architecture.

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