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Buhari Seeks Senate’s Approval For $12.912b Foreign Loan

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Barely five months after the Senate rejected a $29.96 billion loan request from President Muhammadu Buhari, a similar request on two separate templates totaling $12.912billion has been received by the Upper Legislative Chamber from the President for approval.

In the fresh request made under the same 2016-2018 External Borrowing (Rolling) Plan of the Federal government of Nigeria, President Buhari is seeking the nod of the National Assembly to secure a $5.851 billion from the China Exim Bank.

He is also asking the National Assembly to approve another $6.926 billion from the World Bank. The two loan requests total $12.912 billion.

According to the breakdown of the loan request, Lagos-Kano railway modernisation project and the Lagos-Ibadan segment will gulp $1.231 billion.

The Lagos-Kano railway modernisation project and  Kano-Kaduna segment will take $1.146 billion, while the Coastal Railway project, Lagos-Calabar segment is expected to gulp $3.474 billion. 

The three components are part of the loan request from China Exim Bank.

Part of the $6.926 World Bank loan request, will be used to finance projects in the Boko Haram ravaged North-East and also provide social inclusion and welfare advancement project.

Polio eradication support and routine immunisation project will get $125 million. Community and social development project will gulp $75 million, while Nigeria’s states health programme investment project will take $125 million.

State education programme investment programme investment project is to take $100 million. Nigeria youth employment and social support project is expected to get $100 million. Fadama 3 project is go get $50 million. 

Part of President Buhari’s letter reads: “As you are aware, the funds available under the China/Africa fund are limited and loan applications from all African countries are funded based on first come first serve. 

“And therefore there is an urgent need for us to sign these loans as soon as they are approved or we will lose out in the event that we delay in signing the loan agreement. 

“These loans form part of our overall rail funding strategy.

“We are already in the process of completing the concession of the Port Harcourt to Maiduguri line to immediately link the eastern part of the nation. We fully intend to source further concessioning funding to ultimately upgrade this critical line to high speed standard gauge line.

“These projects form part of our overall plans to resuscitate the rail transport across the nation and thereby drive inclusive growth.

“You may also recall my earlier request for the speedy clearance of some emergency projects earmarked for the North East in the 2016-2018 borrowing plan. 

“You will also recall that my request was based on the need to consolidate the relative peace at that time. 

“Since then the situation as you are aware, has changed dramatically and introduced even more urgency to the situation in the zone than ever before.

“While the capture and destruction of the stronghold of Boko Haram in Sambisa forest was welcome news, the recent and unfortunate incident of the bombing of an IDP camp by mistake with loss of civilian lives, brings to fore the need to resettle the people back to their homes quickly in other to avoid such incidence in the future.

“However, for us to be able to do this, there is need for urgent consideration of the identified projects, which will enable us to start reconstruction and rehabilitation of the region in other to create jobs for the people and rehabilitate the schools to get the children of the streets into schools.”

“I wish to also inform the Distinguished Senate that our national Social Safety Net programme, which is intended to assist the poor and most vulnerable people in our society nationwide started this January 2017 with the first cash transfer payments in eight states. 

“However, for us to expand the programme to all the states, we need additional resources in addition to our 2017 budgetary allocation.

“Giving the current state of our economy and the need to urgently address some of our infrastructural deficiencies in other to quickly improve the livelihood of our people, it has become imperative that we work together in an expeditious way to get our economy out of recession and back to growth.

“Distinguished Senate, an expeditious consideration and approval of these requests will go a long way in bringing stability to the North East and improvement on the infrastructure and by extension a great improvement in the economy and livelihood of our people.

“In view of the above, the Distinguished Senate is invited to urgently consider and approve all the above projects totalling a sum of $6.926billion to enable us commence the construction and rehabilitation of the North East, provide for the poor and most vulnerable people and commence rail projects in earnest,” the letter further read.

On November 1st, 2016, President Buhari forwarded a request to both chambers of the National Assembly to approve his request to borrow $29.96 billion to finance projects cut across all sectors with special emphasis on infrastructure, agriculture, health, education, water supply, growth and employment generation, poverty reduction through safety net programmes and governance, as well as financial management reforms.

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