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Senate floor

Nigeria’s Senate on Wednesday approved a $6.1 billion loan request by President Muhammadu Buhari, just as it passed the supplementary appropriation bill sent to it by the president with N895 billion approved to fund security agencies and procurement of Covid-19 vaccines for the nation.

The $6.1 billion loan request, which is equivalent to about N2.343 trillion, was approved after the Senate considered the report of the Senate Committee on Local and Foreign Debts.

The Senate resolution followed the approval of its Committee on Local and Foreign Loans as presented by the Chairman, Clifford Ordia.

The Committee recommended that the Senate approves Buhari’s request for the issuance of $3,000,000,000 but not more than $6,183,081,643.40, Eurobond in the International Capital Market.

The External Borrowing of N2,343,387,942,848, according to the panel, should be for the financing of part of the deficit authorised in the 2021 Appropriation Act.

The Committee also recommended that the Senate should go ahead to approve the amount authorised as it also said the amount may be raised from multiple sources such as the International Capital Market and any other Multilateral or Bilateral sources as may be available.

The Senate committee equally recommended that the Senate directs the Minister of Finance, Budget and National Planning, the Director-General of the Debt Management Office, and the Governor of the Central Bank of Nigeria to submit to the National Assembly within 10 working days (excluding the day of the close of trading) a letter containing the United State Dollars amount so raised and received as a result of the above approval together with the applicable exchange rate.

Buhari had said in May, that the loan will be raised from multilateral and bilateral tenders as well as the international capital market.

He also disclosed that the National Assembly already approved the borrowing of N4.6 trillion in the 2021 Appropriation Act. And that the new borrowing of N2.3 trillion will part-finance the deficit in the 2021 budget.

After the approval, the Senate President, Ahmad Lawan, said the National Assembly must make sure that there are no frivolous expenditures by the executive.

“Let me thank the committee, this is not a new loan. This is a borrowing plan we have approved. What we have done is to provide the necessary resolutions for the implementation of it,” Lawan said.

“Every cent counts. Our committees must be alive to oversee it. No frivolous expenditures should be entertained.”

Meanwhile, the passage of the supplementary appropriation bill was sequel to the consideration and adoption of the report of the Senate Committee on Appropriations on the Supplementary Appropriation Bill, 2021.

Presenting the report at plenary, Senate Committee Chairman on Appropriation, Senator Jibrin Barau, said the Joint Committees of the Senate and House of Representatives reached an agreement on the harmonised report on the supplementary appropriations bill to facilitate its presentation.

President Buhari had on June 22 transmitted a supplementary Appropriation Bill of N895.842,465,917 billion to the National Assembly for consideration and approval.

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