By Naomi Sharang
ABUJA – The Senate on Wednesday approved $1.5billion and €995million external loan requests From President Mohammadu Buhari.
The approval was sequel to the consideration of the report of the Senate Committee on Local and Foreign Debts presented by its Chairman, Sen. Clifford Ordia (PDP-Edo) during plenary.
The president had in May 2020 sent a letter to the senate seeking its approval for another batch of external loans to enable the administration finance the 2020 budget deficit, critical projects and support some states of the federation.
The Federal Government said the loans would be used to execute priority projects and support state governments in stimulating their economy adversely hit by the COVID-19 pandemic.
In his presentation, Ordia noted that the borrowings were loans with low interest rates and a reasonable moratorium and payback period.
He said “No unusual or onerous conditions attached to the terms of the loans and do not in any manner compromise the sustainability of the Nigerian economy or impugn the integrity and independence of Nigeria as a sovereign nation.
“The loan is in the immediate best interest of the Nigerian state and its citizens in dealing with the COVID-19 pandemic in a way that the economy will be positioned for quick recovery and resume growth.
“While Nigeria’s total public debt stock is on the increase, it is still relatively low vis-à-vis the country’s GDP and the increased borrowing requirements is needed to sustain economic recovery.”
The approved loans are as follows: “$750 million from the World Bank for states, fiscal transparency, accountability and sustainability (SFTAS) programme to provide fiscal support to states.
“World Bank’s $750 million for the COVID-19 Action Recovery and economic stimulus programme to support state level efforts to protect livelihoods, ensure food security and stimulate economic activity (N-CARES).” (NAN)