Senate Approves Buhari's US$5.5 Billion Loan Request

Senate Approves Buhari's US$5.5 Billion Loan Request

The Senate on Tuesday approved a $5.5 billion loan request by President Muhammadu Buhari to finance deficits in the 2017 budget and refinance domestic debts.

The Senate gave its approval after considering the report of its committee on local and foreign debts headed by Senator Shehu Sani of Kaduna state.

In a word of caution, Senator Yusuf Abubakar Yusuf representing Taraba Central said, the Federal Government should properly monitor its foreign exchange, adding that payment of foreign debts exclusively depends on what happened to the foreign exchange rate.

The committee said that the Mambila Hydro Power Project which had always been abandoned when completed will add substantially to the National grid and improve power output of the country. "The balance of the 2017 external borrowing in the sum of $3.2 billion is planned to be partially sourced in the ICM of $2.5 billion through Eurobonds or a combination of Eurobonds and Diaspora bonds, while $700 billion is proposed to be raised from multilateral sources".

It said that the loan will reduce the cost of the debts while the projects are essential for rapid economic and social development of Nigeria.

Refinancing refers to the process of eliminating an existing debt with payments from another loan obtained under more favourable terms.

"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. This Senate is known to be working together for the benefit of all Nigerians.

"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".

Senate leader, Senator Ahmed Lawan while supporting Ashafa's position also claimed that the federal government had complied with all laws governing external borrowing.

"For us in the Senate, we have taken our time to look at the necessity and the imperative for approving the loan. Mr. President, these are infrastructural projects that will have very positive impacts on the economy".

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