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Senate approves FG’s N7.6tn external loans

THE Senate has approved the Federal Government’s request to borrow $16.2 billion (about N6.651 trillion at N475/$ rate), €1bn (N474.190bn) and a grant of $125m (N51.3bn) under the 2018-2020 External Borrowing (Rolling) plan, totalling N7.635 trillion.

The approval today followed the consideration of the report of the Senate Committee on Local and Foreign Debt.

President Buhari had, in a letter read in the Senate on September 15, 2021, requested the Red Chamber to approve $4,054,476,863, €710,000,000 and $125,000,000 loans.

The loans are to be sourced from the World Bank, China EXIM Bank, Industrial & Commercial Bank of China, China Development Bank, Africa Development Bank (AfDB), French Development Bank (AFD), European Investment Bank, International Capital Market, and Standard Chartered Bank.

The loans, Buhari said, were to finance critical infrastructural projects across the country.

The chairman of the committee, Senator Clifford Ordia (PDP, Edo), said his panel found that out of a sum of over $22.8bn earlier approved borrowing by the National Assembly under the 2016-2018 External Borrowing Rolling Plan, only $2.8bn, that is, 10% has been disbursed to Nigeria.

“The Committee, therefore, notes that the great pressure placed on the human and financial resources of the National Assembly to approve loans under the Medium Term External Borrowing Plans is unnecessary.

“The Committee observes that these projects, some of which require additional financing, will have a great multiplier effect on stimulating economic growth through infrastructure development, job creation, poverty alleviation, health care and improve our security architecture,” he said.

He said the committee, therefore, recommended that the Senate approve the “ongoing negotiation of external borrowing in the sum of $16,230,077,718; €1,020,000,000 and a Grant component of $125,000,000 under the 2018-2020 External Borrowing (Rolling) plan.”

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