By Sodeinde Temidayo David
President Muhammadu Buhari has asked the National Assembly to allow the federal government under his leadership to borrow fresh loans from international sources.
Mr Buhari, in a letter, appealed to the parliament to allow him to source external loans worth $4 billion and €710 million, and grant components of $125 million to finance projects in the country.
If this request is approved, it would further increase the nation’s debt stock, which is currently nearing N35 trillion.
In the letter, the President explained that he intends to obtain the capital from the World Bank, French Development Agency, EXIM Bank and the International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD).
“I write on the above subject and submit the attached addendum to the proposed 2018-2020 external rolling borrowing plan for the consideration and concurrent approval of the Senate for the same to become effective,” a part of the notice said.
The President noted that the loans if approved, would enable the federal government to fund critical infrastructure projects in different sectors across the country and as approved by the Federal Executive Council (FEC).
“In view of other emerging needs and to ensure that all critical projects approved by FEC as of June 2021 are incorporated, I hereby forward an addendum to the proposed borrowing plan,” Mr President stated.
This fresh request is coming after the President asked for a loan to finance the N5.6 trillion 2021 budget deficit in May this year.
The Senate had also in April of this year approved $1.5 billion and €995 million external borrowings which were part of the $5.5 billion and €995 million external borrowings sought for by Mr Buhari in May last year.
“The distinguished Senate President may recall that we submitted a request on 2018-2020 borrowing plan for the approval of the Senate in May 2021,” Mr Buhari in his letter stated.
He further said the funds were to be used to finance some government projects and assist some states financially.
According to the Nigerian Domestic and Foreign Debt Report, published this year by the National Bureau of Statistics (NBS), the country’s total public debt as of September 2020 stood at N32.2 trillion ($84.57 billion).