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Buhari returns to Senate with $29bn loan request


President Muhammadu Buhari on Thursday returned to the Senate with the Federal Government’s 2016-2018 external borrowing plan.

In a letter addressed to Senate President, Ahmad Lawan, Buhari asked the lawmakers to approve the request.

Buhari had sent the loan request initially estimated at $29.96 billion to the 8th Senate in 2016, but it was not totally approved by the lawmakers.

The Senate only approved the request on the federal government’s emergency projects for the North-East and the China-assisted railway modernisation project out of the 39 projects covered in the plan.

Buhari said the loan was “critical to the delivery of the government’s policies and programmes” and asked the lawmakers to approve it.

He said: “While I have transmitted the 2016-2018 external borrowing plan to the 8th National Assembly in September 2016, this plan was not approved in its entirety by the legislature.

“Only the federal government’s emergency projects for the North East’s four states projects and one China-assisted railway modernisation projects for Lagos-Ibadan segment were approved out of a total of 39 projects.

“Outstanding projects in the plan that were not approved by the legislature are nevertheless, critical to the delivery of the government’s policies and programmes relating to power, mining, roads, agriculture, health, water, and educational sectors.”

According to the president, the outstanding projects are in line with the sustainability analysis undertaken by the Debt Management Office (DMO) and had been approved by the Federal Executive Council (FEC) in August 2016.

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“Accordingly, I have attached for your kind consideration, relevant information from the Minister of Finance, the specific outstanding projects under the 2016-2018 external borrowing plan for which legislation approval is currently sought.

“I have also directed the minister to make herself available to provide any additional information or clarification which you may require to facilitate prompt approval of the outstanding projects under this plan,” he said.

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