Senate approves Buhari’s $5.5bn loan request

The Senate has approved a $5.5 billion loan request by President Muhammadu Buhari.

Background:

  • Buhari had asked the upper chamber to approve the borrowing of $2.5 billion to finance the 2017 budget.
  • He also requested to borrow $3 billion to refinance domestic debts.

What is happening:

On Tuesday, the senate’s committee on local and foreign debts presented its report on the request.

Shehu Sani, chairman of the committee said it would lead to economic growth if the request is considered.

“The projects when completed will create job through its chain of downstream economic activities,” Sani said.

“The construction of the second runway of the Nnamdi Azikiwe international airport will enhance the safety of the air passengers, increase the use of airports by international airlines thus increase the revenue of the government.

“That the rail projects when completed will reduce the use of roads, its attendant congestion and thus minimise the cost of road maintenance.

“The Mamblilla hydro power project which has long been abandoned when completed will add substantially to the national grids thus improve power output of the country. The projects will improve the federal government’s revenue.”

Senate leader Ahmed Lawan said the loan will make a huge difference in the economy, if properly utilised.

“The $3 billion, for the general public to understand, is not a loan that will be used today. This is a for payments for loans or debts incurred before and it is cheaper to borrow from outside because of th me current exchange rate of the dollar,” Lawan said.

“So we are simply refinancing the payment of the debts. N2.5 billion will definitely, when fully and properly applied will make a huge difference in our economy.”

Ike Ekweremadu, Deputy Senate President approved the request after putting it to a vote.

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