Barely 30 days after approving $1.5bn and €995 million external borrowings, President Muhammadu Buhari has again written the National Assembly to sought the consideration and approval of new N2.3trillion ($6.18bn) external loan.
He explained through his letter that the proposed loan of an additional N2.3trillion was to finance the 2021 budget deficit of N5.6 trillion.
Through the request which was contained in a letter read on Tuesday at plenary by the Senate President, Ahmad Lawan, the president added that the fund would be expended on critical infrastructural projects in transportation, health, and education, among others.
“Senate President, Ahmed Lawan reads a letter from President requesting for the Resolution of the National Assembly for the implementation of the external borrowing of 2.18 billion dollars in the 2021 Appropriations Act and Request for the approval of Donor Funded Projects under the 2018-2020 Federal Government external borrowing rolling plan,” the Senate said in a statement.
It would be recalled that the Senate had in March approved $22.7billion external loan request made by the Buhari, which he stated was with aim to fund critical infrastructural projects under the 2016 – 2018 External Borrowing Plan.
The approval came after a closed-door session that lasted close to an hour by the upper legislative chamber on Thursday, following a heated debate on the President’s request during the plenary. The approval was based on the Senator Clifford Ordia-led Committee on Local and Foreign Loans, two-item recommendation of approval of loan request by the house.
While commenting on the red chamber’s decision to approve $22.7billion external loan request, the Senate President, Ahmad Lawan, assured Nigerians that the loan funds would be channeled into specific developmental projects which were initial reason for the loan as stated in government’s budget for critical infrastructure projects under the 2016 – 2018 External Borrowing Plan.
According to him, the loan would be spent judiciously on projects that would impact Nigerians and position the country to compete globally in terms of infrastructure and human development, while calling on the senate committees to swing into action in ensuring strict oversight function on the approved amount.
Lawan called on the Buhari-led federal government to ensure transparency in all its dealings, especially concerning monies released as loans based on the request approval.