Senate Okays Buhari’s Request On Fresh $5.8bn Borrowing

The Senate, on Wednesday, approved the request by the President, Major General Muhammadu Buhari (retd.) for loans totalling $5,803,364,553.50 and a grant component of $10m under the 2018-2020 External Borrowing (Rolling) Plan of the Federal Government.

The approval followed the consideration and adoption of a report by the Senate Committee on Local and Foreign Debts.

The Chairman of the committee, Senator Clifford Ordia, said $2.30bn would be sourced from the World Bank, another $2.30bn from the German Consortium, $90,000,000 from the Islamic Development, $786,382,967 from the China Exim Bank, $276,981,586.50 from the Bank of China, and $50m from the International Fund for Agricultural Development.

Ordia recalled that Buhari had in a communication dated May 6, 2021 requested the Senate to consider and approve the plan.

According to the lawmaker, the plan contained a request for approval of the sum of $36,837,281,256 plus €910m and grant component of $10m

He noted that a report was laid by his committee before the Senate in July 2021, recommending the approval of the sum of $8,575,526,537 and €490m.

He further recalled that the Senate, in July 2021, approved financing for projects as recommended by the committee, while the committee continued further legislative action and consideration of the outstanding request.

He added that on September 15, 2021, the President of the Senate, Ahmad Lawan, read another communication from the Buhari containing an addendum to the 2018-2020 External Borrowing (Rolling)Plan in the sum of $4,054,476,863, €710m and a grant component of$125m for various projects, and same was also referred to the committee for further legislative action.

Ordia said a second report was laid by the committee before the Senate in November 2021, recommending the approval of the sums of $16,229,577,718, €1.02bn and a grant component of $125m.

The Senate in November approved the sums for the financing of the projects as recommended by the panel.

Ordia explained that the request for the approval of $5.8bn was part of the mandate of the committee in respect of the2018-2020 External Borrowing (Rolling) Plan.

The committee noted the genuine concerns of Nigerians about the level of sustainability and serviceability of Nigeria’s borrowing within the last decade.

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

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


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