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Senate approves Buhari's $5.5 billion external loan request

Senate approves Buhari's $5.5 billion external loan request

The Senate Tuesday approved the request of President Muhammadu Buhari to borrow the sum of $5.5 billion.

PUNCH reports that Buhari, in a letter dated October 4, 2017, had said the external borrowings had been captured in the 2017 Appropriation Act, which has a deficit of N2.356tn and provision for new borrowings of N2.321tn.

In his initial letter, the President explained that the bonds would be channeled towards funding of the 2017 budget while the loan would be used in refinancing of maturing domestic debts.

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On Tuesday, the senate's committee on local and foreign debts presented its report on the request.

"The projects when completed will create job through its chain of downstream economic activities", Sani said.

In a word of caution, Senator Yusuf Abubakar Yusuf representing Taraba Central said, the Federal Government should properly monitor its foreign exchange, adding that payment of foreign debts exclusively depends on what happened to the foreign exchange rate.

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"That the rail projects when completed will reduce the use of roads, its attendant congestion and thus minimise the cost of road maintenance".

"The Mambilla hydro-power project which had now been abandoned, when completed, will add substantially to the national grid thus improve the power output of the country".

Refinancing refers to the process of eliminating an existing debt with payments from another loan obtained under more favourable terms.

Deputy Senate President Ike Ekweremadu who presided over the session stated that the Senate would continue to work with the executive arm of government to ensure that the goal of the 2017 budget is achieved.

He said, "This Senate will continue to partner with the Federal Government in matters that concern the ordinary people of Nigeria". Analysts say implementation of Buhari's budgets since taking office in 2015 has been lacking, particularly on capital expenditure.


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