Senate approves Buhari's $5.5 billion external borrowing

Senate approves Buhari's $5.5 billion external borrowing

Nigeria's Senate on Tuesday approved a request by President Muhammadu Buhari to seek $5.5 billion in foreign loans.

The President's request, which included external loan of $3 billion and the issuance of a $2.5 billion Eurobond in the global Market was approved by the Senate on Tuesday.

In his initial letter, the President explained that the bonds would be channeled towards funding of the 2017 budget while the loan would be used in refinancing of maturing domestic debts.

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Presenting the report of the committee Tuesday, Shehu Sani, Kaduna-APC, said the projects for which the loan is requested, will stimulate economic development and create direct and indirect jobs for Nigerians while the $2.5 billion bonds will create more borrowing space for the private sector.

He further maintained that terms and conditions attached to those bonds were favourable to the integrity of the current administration, particularly as it affect the critical infrastructure, the bond was meant to finance.

"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". With the $3bn to be used for refinancing domestic debts, local lenders owed by the federal government may now expect to be paid. However, it will reduce the cost of the debt.

Deputy Senate President Ike Ekweremadu who presided over the session stated that the Senate would continue to work with the executive arm of government to ensure that the objective of the 2017 budget is achieved. This Senate is known to be working together for the benefit of all Nigerians.

Ekweremadu said: "The implementation of the 2017 budget is key".

"It should be noted that the intention is to issue the Eurobonds first, with the objective of raising all the funds through Eurobonds, and that Diaspora Bonds will only be issued where the full amount can not be raised through Eurobonds". An appropriation act is useless if it is not implemented.

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