The Nigerian Senate has approved an external loan request of $6.1 billion, about N2.34 trillion, by President Muhammadu Buhari for the funding of projects from priority sectors of the economy, The sectors include transportation, power, agriculture and rural development, health, education, the provision of counterpart funding for multilateral and bilateral projects, defence and water resources. The approval comes after the consideration of the report presented by Senator Clifford Ordia, chairman of the committee, Senate Committee on Local and Foreign Debts at plenary.
It can be recalled that President Buhari had in May 2021, asked the National assembly to consider the loan request and thereafter approve the loan which, he had said, will come from multilateral and bilateral lenders as well as the international capital market.
Meanwhile, Senator Ordia, in his presentation, further disclosed that the National Assembly already approved the borrowing of N4.6 trillion in the 2021 Appropriation Act and that the new borrowing of N2.3 trillion will part-finance the deficit in the 2021 budget. Though, Nigeria’s 2021 budget already has a deficit of N5.6 trillion which the government is currently seeking for means to generate revenues to fund the deficit.
He also said the request is not new as it had already been approved in the borrowing plan when the National Assembly passed the 2021 Appropriation Bill.
“What we are about to pass is not a new borrowing, it has been approved in the 2021 budget, Ordia said.
Ahmad Lawan, the President of the Senate, after the approval on Wednesday said the National assembly must ensure that there are no frivolous expenditures by the executives following this loan request approval.
“Let me thank the committee, this is not a new loan. This is a borrowing plan we have approved. What we have done is to provide the necessary resolutions for the implementation of it. Every cent counts. Our committees must be alive to oversee it. No frivolous expenditures should be entertained,” Ahmad said.