Friday, 17 November, 2017

Senate approves Buhari's $5.5bn loan request

Senate okays $5.5 billion loan for FG 41 days after, Senate approves Buhari's $5.5bn foreign loan request
Patty Aguilar | 14 November, 2017, 18:36

Senate today approved the $5.5 billion external loan requested by President Muhammadu Buhari to finance Federal Government projects.

PUNCH reports that Buhari, in a letter dated October 4, 2017, had said the external borrowings had been captured in the 2017 Appropriation Act, which has a deficit of N2.356tn and provision for new borrowings of N2.321tn.

The committee noted that the $3 billion for refinancing of the country's domestic debts will not lead to an increase in the public debt portfolio. "Let me say that we need to urge the DMO to ensure that our debt profile is watched and that we do not exceed or overblow our debt". However, it will reduce the cost of the debt.

"The Mamblilla hydro power project which has always been abandoned when completed will add substantially to the national grids thus improve power output of the country".

Before the unanimous approval of the loan, some Senators called for caution on the way and manner the Federal Government rushes to take foreign loans.

"The construction of the second runway of the Nnamdi Azikiwe worldwide airport will enhance the safety of the air passengers, increase the use of airports by global airlines thus increase the revenue of the government". He was however countered by Senator Gbenga Ashafa who argued that the loans were necessary to facilitate development across the country.

"Mr President, Distinguished colleagues, the loan cover projects that spread across the six geopolitical zones and those projects were critical to Nigerians, so it should be approved", he said.

"Again, if we single them out, they cover power, rail, roads, even building bridges across the various water channels and the issue of the second run way". This Senate is known to be working together for the benefit of all Nigerians.

Senate leader Ahmed Lawan said the loan will make a huge difference in the economy, if properly utilised.

The government intends to spend money on infrastructure projects to diversify the OPEC member's oil-dependent economy.

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