By Sanni Onogu, Abuja
The Senate has approved President Muhammadu Buhari’s request for external loans to the tune of $8,325,526,537 and €490,000,000 (Euros).
The Upper Chamber approved the loan request under the ongoing 2018-2020 External Borrowing (Rolling) Plan.
The approval followed the consideration of the report of the Committee on Local and Foreign Debt on the 2018-2020 External Borrowing (Rolling) Plan.
Chairman of the Committee, Senator Clifford Ordia, presented the report.
Ordia said the Committee noted with utmost importance, the genuine and very serious concerns of Nigerians about the level, sustainability and serviceability of the country’s borrowings in the last decade.
The Edo central lawmaker added that the country’s “debt service figures constitute a huge drain on our revenue to the extent that it account for over 30 percent of our expenditure in the annual budget.”
He explained due to the shortfall in the country’s annual revenues in relation to the need for rapid infrastructural and human capital development “we have had to pass deficit budget every year, requiring us to borrow to finance the deficit in our budget.”
Ordia noted that out of the total borrowing request of $36,837,281,256 contained in the re-forwarded request of Mr. President, a sum of $26,154,536,533 is for funds proposed to be borrowed from various financial institutions from the Peoples Republic of China.
He stressed the proposed projects in the Ministries’ of Transportation, FCT, Aviation, Works & Housing, Agriculture and Water Resources and some Commissions such as National Universities Commission, North East Development Commission and the National Identity Management Commission are mostly ongoing projects and programmes in respect of which External Borrowed funds have been spent in the past, including loans.
He listed the funding agencies to include: World Bank – $796,000,000; China Exim Bank – $2,901,026,509; Industrial Commercial Bank of China – $2,484,555,304; African Development Bank – $104,200,000; Africa Growing Together Fund – $20,000,000; French Development Agency – €240,000,000; European Investment Bank – €250,000,000; European ECA/KfW/IPEX/AFC – $1,959,744,724; and International Fund For Agricultural Development (IFAD) – $60,000,000.