By Salim Yunusa
The Senate on Wednesday approved the sum of $16,230,077,718, €1,020,000,000 and a grant of $125,000,000 as foreign loans for the regime of the President, General Muhammadu Buhari to fund its legacy projects.
The red chamber specifically approved the issuance of €500,000,000 from the Bank of Industries and €750,000,000 Eurobond in the International Capital Market.
It asked the President to forward the terms and conditions of the loans from the funding agencies to the National Assembly.
The Senate gave the approval following the consideration of the report of its Committee on Local and Foreign Debts, chaired by Senator Clifford Ordia.
The upper legislative chamber also approved grant components of $125 million.
The president had requested the facilities in an addendum to the 2018-2020 borrowing plan in September.
In July, the national assembly approved the sums of $8.3 billion and €490 million loans as initial requests in the 2018-2020 borrowing plan.
While presenting a report on Wednesday, Clifford Ordia, chairman of the senate committee on local and foreign debts, said the projects which funds are requested for in the 2018-2020 borrowing plan are ongoing.
Ordia said projects will stimulate a “rebirth of commercial and engineering activities and the consequent tax revenues payable to Government as a result of these productive activities will increase.”
“It will be recalled that the senate at plenary in July 2021 approved financing for projects as recommended by the Committee above whilst the Committee continued further legislative action and consideration of the outstanding request,” the senator said.
“Subsequently, on the 15th of September 2021, the President of the Senate of the federal republic of Nigeria read another Communication from the President and Commander in Chief of the Armed Forces, Containing an addendum to the 2018-2020 External Borrowing (Rolling) Plan in the sum of $4,054,476,863, €710,000,000 and Grant Component of $125,000,000 for various projects and same was also referred to the committee for further legislative action.
“The committee notes that a good number of the projects in respect of which financing is being requested under the 2018-2020 external borrowing (rolling) plan are mostly ongoing projects and programmes in respect of which external borrowed funds have been spent in the past, including loans and grants.
“The committee found as a fact that out of a sum of over $22.8billion approved by the national assembly under the 2016-2018 external borrowing rolling plan, only $2.8billion, that is 10% has been disbursed to Nigeria.
“The committee observes that these projects, some of which require additional financing, will have a great multiplier effect on stimulating economic growth through infrastructure development, job creation, poverty alleviation, health care and improve our security architecture.”
The World Bank, African Development Bank and the French Development Agency (AFD) are among the funding agencies.
Buhari had said the loans would stimulate the economy and create jobs