President Buhari seeks fresh loans, writes NASS for approval

President of the Senate, Ahmad Lawan, on Monday formally disclosed a fresh move by the present administration to swell the nation external debt profile.

On resumption of plenary by the federal lawmakers after their annual vacation, the President of the Senate read a formal letter addressed to him by President Muhammadu Buhari seeking the Red Chamber statutory approval for external loans in the total sum of $4,054,476,863.00, plus Euro €710,m and Grant Component of $125m.

Tribune Online checks revealed that the Senate had last April approved fresh external loans of $1.5 billion and €995 million for the Federal Government.

While adopting the report of the Senate Committee on Local and Foreign Debts, chaired by Senator Clifford Ordia, the Senators said loans were part of the external borrowings President Muhammadu Buhari had requested in May 2020, for financing various priority projects of the Federal Government and to support the state governments facing fiscal challenges.

President Buhari in his fresh request dated August 26, 2021, hinted that it was an addendum to the 2018-2021 Federal Government External Borrowing Plan to be financed through sovereign loans from the World Bank, French Development Agency (AFD), China-EXIM Bank, International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD), amongst others.

The letter read in part:” I write in respect of the above subject and to submit the attached addendum to the proposed 2018-2021 Federal Govemment External Borrowing (Rolling) Plan for the consideration and concurrent approval of the Senate for same to become effective. (See Annex 1).

“The Distinguished Senate President may wish to recall that I earlier transmitted a request on the proposed 2018-2020 Federal Government External Borrowing Plan for the concurrent approval of the Senate in May. 2021. However, in view of other emerging needs and to ensure that all critical projects approved by FEC as of June 2021 are incorporated, I hereby forward an addendum to the proposed Borrowing Plan.

“The Projects listed in the addendum to the 2018-2021 Federal Government External Borrowing Plan are to be financed through sovereign loans from the World Bank, French Development Agency (AFD), China-EXIM Bank, International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD). Credit Suisse Group and Standard Chartered/China Export and Credit (SINOSURE) in the total sum of USD4,054,476,863.00 plus Euro 710,000,000.00 and Grant Component of USD 125,000,000.00.

“The Senate is kindly invited to note that the projects and programmes in the Borrowing Plan were selected based on positive, technical and economic evaluations and the contribution they would make to the socio-economic development of the country including employment generation and poverty reduction as well as protection of the most vulnerable and very poor segments of the Nigerian society.

“The Senate may also wish to note that all the listed projects in the addendum form part of the 2018-2021 External Borrowing Plan and covered both the Federal and States Government Projects and are geared towards the realization of the Nigeria Economic Sustainability Plan that cut across key sectors such as infrastructure, Health, Agriculture and Food Security, Energy, Education and Human Capital Development and COVID-19 Response efforts.

‘A summary of some key projects in each of the six geo-political zones and a summary on the expected impacts on the socio-economic development of each of the six (6) geo-political zones are attached herewith as Annex II and III.

“Given the importance attached to the timely delivery of the projects listed in the proposed Borrowing Plan and the benefits both the Federal and States Governments stand to gain from the implementation of same. I hereby wish to request for the kind consideration and concurrent approval of the Senate for projects listed in the addendum to the 2018-2021 Federal Government External Borrowing (Rolling) Plan to enable the projects to become effective
“Please accept, Distinguished Senate President, the assurances of my warm.”

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