President Bola Tinubu has sought Senate approval for external loans of $8.6 billion.
The request is contained in a letter read on the floor by the President of the Senate, Godswill Akpabio, who also requested approval for another 100 million Euros to be sourced externally.
According to President Tinubu, the borrowings are contained in the 2022–2024 external borrowing plans, approved by the past administration of Muhammadu Buhari, at the Federal Executive Council Meeting, which was held on May 15, 2023.
President Tinubu says it has become imperative that the Federal Government resort to prudent external borrowing, to bridge the financial gap, which will largely be applied to key infrastructure, including power, railway, and health, among others.
He added that the projects cut across all sectors, with a specific emphasis on infrastructure, agriculture, health, education, water supply, security, and employment generation, as well as financial management reforms, amongst others.
The president stressed that following the removal of fuel subsidies, and its attendant impact on the economy, the African Development Bank and the World Bank Group have indicated interest in assisting the country mitigate the impact, with a sum of USD 1 billion and 1.5 billion, respectively.
He pointed out that the projects and programmes in the borrowing plan were selected, based on a positive technical economic evaluation, as well as the expected contribution, to the socio-economic development of the country, including employment generation, skills acquisition, support for the emergence of entrepreneurs, poverty reduction, and food security, to improve livelihoods in all the thirty-six states of the federation and the FCT.
He further states that, considering the huge infrastructure deficits in the country, and the enormous financial resources required to fill the gap, funding infrastructure, in the face of limited financial resources,
and given the nature of facilities, and the need to return the country to normalcy, he says it has become necessary to request the Senate to consider and approve the 2022-2024 external borrowing plan, to enable the government to deliver each responsibility to Nigerians, through expeditious disbursement, and efficient budget implementation.
The bill is referred to the Senate Committee On Local And Foreign Debt, for legislative scrutiny, to report back in one week.
(Editor: Ifeanyi Mark)