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Senate approves Buhari’s $5.5bn foreign loan

The Senate yesterday approved President Muhammadu Buhari’s request to take $5.5bn foreign loan to fund the capital component of this year’s budget and refinance maturing domestic debt obligations.

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The approval followed the consideration of the report of the Senate Committee on Local and Foreign Debts chaired by Shehu Sani (APC, Kaduna).

Buhari’s request for the loan was read on the floor of the Senate on October 10, this year. Out of the loan, $2.5bn was for the implementation of the external borrowing approved in the 2017 appropriation act and the remaining $3bn is for the refinancing of maturing domestic debts

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Presenting the report, Sani said the projects the loan is being taken for are essential for rapid economic and social development of the country.

Sani who listed the projects to include the construction of the second runway in the Nnamdi Azikiwe International Airport, Mambilla Hydropower project expressed satisfaction with the President’s request.

Contributing, Senate leader Ahmad Lawan said the loan would boost the country’s economy and address infrastructural deficit.

“It is cheaper to borrow from outside to pay local debt because of the exchange rate as the $3bn would be used for refinancing of local debt,” he said.

In his remark, Deputy Senate President Ike Ekweremadu, who presided over the plenary, urged the Debt Management Office (DMO) to ensure that the country’s debt profile is within the acceptable limit.

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