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Senate approves FG’s external borrowing plan of $22.7bn for 2016-2018

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The Senate on Thursday,  approved 22.7 billion dollars as external borrowing plan for Nigeria out of the 22.8 billion requested by President Muhammadu Buhari.

This followed the adoption of the report of the Committee on Local and Foreign Debts on the Federal Government’s Borrowing Plan at plenary.

Presenting the report, Chairman of the Committee, Sen.Clifford Ordia (PDP-Edo) noted that senate had earlier considered the request for the external borrowing plan on Dec.17, 2019.

He said the request was thereafter referred to the committee for further legislative input.

He said that the request by Buhari was in consonance with the provisions of Debt Management Office (DMO) Establishment Act, 2003 and Fiscal Responsibility Commission (FRC) Act 2007.

He said the Acts enjoined the president to seek and obtain approval from National Assembly in respect to external borrowing.

According to him, government Ministries, Departments and Agencies (MDAs) were invited by the committee to defend their various requests in the loan.

Ordia said the committee was informed that based on the explanation of the Minister of Finance, and the DMO, the borrowing plan would be sustainable.

He said the committee noted that the proposed projects tied to the loan in the Ministries of Power, Transportation, FCT, Works Housing, Agriculture would have multiplier effect on stimulating economic growth.

This, he said would be done through job creation, stimulation of commercial activities and increase in manufacturing activities.

He listed some of the sources of the loan to include: World Bank, Africa Development Bank (AfDB), Islamic Development Bank and China Exim Bank.

He said that China Exim Bank would provide the highest loan of over 17 billion dollars to Nigeria.

Sen. Ifeanyi Ubah (YPP-Anambra) drew the attention of the senate to the poor infrastructure in the South East adding that there was need for an improved infrastructure in the area, especially the completion of second Niger Bridge and railway lines along the its corridors.

Following the consideration of the committee’s report, the senate approved the federal government external borrowing plan for 20162018.

President of Senate, Ahmad Lawan thanked the committee and senators for their inputs in the report.

He said the senate through its oversight functions would ensure that every amount earmarked for projects in the loan being sought for would be strictly utilised for the purpose.

Edited By: Chioma Ugboma/Ali Baba-Inuwa (NAN)

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