Se­nate ap­proves Buhari’s $5.5bn for­eign loan

Daily Trust - - NEWS - By Is­mail Mu­dashir

The Se­nate yes­ter­day ap­proved Pres­i­dent Muham­madu Buhari’s re­quest to take $5.5bn for­eign loan to fund the cap­i­tal com­po­nent of this year’s bud­get and re­fi­nance ma­tur­ing do­mes­tic debt obli­ga­tions.

The ap­proval fol­lowed the con­sid­er­a­tion of the re­port of the Se­nate Com­mit­tee on Lo­cal and For­eign Debts chaired by Shehu Sani (APC, Kaduna).

Buhari’s re­quest for the loan was read on the floor of the Se­nate on Oc­to­ber 10, this year. Out of the loan, $2.5bn was for the im­ple­men­ta­tion of the ex­ter­nal bor­row­ing ap­proved in the 2017 ap­pro­pri­a­tion act and the re­main­ing $3bn is for the re­fi­nanc­ing of ma­tur­ing do­mes­tic debts

Pre­sent­ing the re­port, Sani said the projects the loan is be­ing taken for are es­sen­tial for rapid eco­nomic and so­cial de­vel­op­ment of the coun­try.

Sani who listed the projects to in­clude the con­struc­tion of the sec­ond run­way in the Nnamdi Azikiwe In­ter­na­tional Air­port, Mam­billa Hy­dropower project ex­pressed sat­is­fac­tion with the Pres­i­dent’s re­quest.

Con­tribut­ing, Se­nate leader Ah­mad Lawan said the loan would boost the coun­try’s econ­omy and ad­dress in­fras­truc­tural deficit.

“It is cheaper to bor­row from out­side to pay lo­cal debt be­cause of the ex­change rate as the $3bn would be used for re­fi­nanc­ing of lo­cal debt,” he said.

In his re­mark, Deputy Se­nate Pres­i­dent Ike Ek­w­ere­madu, who presided over the ple­nary, urged the Debt Man­age­ment Of­fice (DMO) to en­sure that the coun­try’s debt pro­file is within the ac­cept­able limit.

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