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Nigerian govt may suspend $22.7bn borrowing plans

Finance Minister allays fear over gov borrowings, says N25.7tr debt not worrisome

The Minister of Finance, Zainab Ahmed, said on Monday the Federal Government may suspend its $22.7 billion external borrowing plans due to current realities in the global economic landscape.

Ahmed, who disclosed this to journalists at the 2020 International Conference on the Nigerian Commodities Market organized by the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) in Abuja, said the government may not go ahead with the borrowing plans, even if it secures the National Assembly’s approval.

The minister stressed that the decision of the government was because market indices do not support external borrowings at the moment.

She said: “The parliament is still doing its work on the borrowing plan. One arm of the parliament has completed theirs and the other arm is still working and it is a process that is controlled by the parliament itself, so we are waiting.

“However, we are not going out immediately because the market indication is not in favour of external borrowing at this time. Even if we get approvals we will defer it and watch the market and go out only when the timing is right.”

READ ALSO: CBN cuts interest rate to 5%

Ahmed told journalists that the federal government was not relenting on its plans to diversify the country’s economy, noting that unfolding events of the past few months – the coronavirus pandemic and the oil price war – had further reinforced the government’s resolve to diversify the national economy.

According to her, the current challenges in the global economy had made it imperative for the country to develop a non-oil attitude to its activities.

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