Buhari Seeks NASS Approval to Borrow $30b, More Than Entire 2016 Budget
Nigeria’s President Muhammadu Buhari has requested the National Assembly to approve a plan to obtain 30 billion dollars in foreign loans to finance key projects and plug budget deficits in the next three years.
Buhari sent a letter which was read on the floor of the House of Representatives in Abuja on Tuesday urging lawmakers to approve the loan to “ensure prompt implementation of the projects.”
He said the projects would cut across all sectors with special emphasis on infrastructure, agriculture, health, education, water supply, growth and job creation and reducing poverty.
“The total cost of the projects and programmes under the borrowing (Rolling) Plan is $29.960 billion,” he said, adding that the plans included the sale of Eurobonds worth $4.5 billion and budget support of $3.5 billion.
Buhari also said the loan was necessary “to bridge the financing gap”, adding the borrowing would cover 2016 to 2018 fiscal years.
Nigeria, which depends on oil sales for 70 per cent of its government revenue, is struggling to fight its way out of a recession as a result of persistently low crude prices and the ongoing militant attacks in the oil-producing south.
Nigeria announced a record 6.1 trillion naira ($19.4 billion) spending plan for this year’s budget to try to stimulate growth and develop infrastructure.
While most of the plans in the 2016 budget are yet to be implemented, a draft of the 2017 budget of 6.866 trillion naira has been sent to parliament for approval.
Cash-strapped Nigeria has held talks with the World Bank, China and other institutions to fund a 2016 budget deficit of 2.2 trillion naira but so far only the African Development Bank has publicly confirmed a planned loan of $1 billion.
Nigeria’s economy is set to shrink in 2016 for the first time in 25 years, according to Bloomberg News.
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