… Approves $6.1bn External Loan Request for President
By Ifeoma Ezenyilimba
The Nigerian Senate, last Wednesday, July 7, passed the 2021 Supplementary Budget of N982, 729, 695,343.00 into law.
The budget represented an increase of N87billion of the request presented to it two weeks ago by President Muhammadu Buhari. Buhari had proposed N895, 842,465,917.00, but the Senate Committee on Appropriation in its report that was presented by the Chairman, Senator Jibrin Barau, increased the budget to N982, 729,695,343.00.
The breakdown of the budget showed that N123, 332,174,164 was for recurrent (non-debt) expenditure, while the sum of N859, 397,521,179 was for capital expenditure.
President Buhari had said that the amount was needed to fund the COVID-19 vaccine programme and health related expenditures for treatment of additional 50,000 patients under the Nigeria Comprehensive AIDS Programme in states.
He noted that part of the money would be used to procure additional equipment captured in the year’s capital expenditure on defence and security to combat security challenges across the country.
Meanwhile, the Senate at the July 7 Plenary also approved a loan request of $6.1 billion by President Muhammadu Buhari.
The $6.1 billion which amounted to about N2.343trillion, was approved following the consideration of the report of the Senate Committee on Local and Foreign Debts at the plenary. Chairman of the committee, Senator Clifford Ordia, presented the report.
The loan, according to the president, would be raised from multilateral and bilateral lenders, as well as from the international capital market.
In his presentation, Senator Ordia said the request was not new borrowing, as it had already been approved in the borrowing plan when the National Assembly passed the 2021 Appropriation Bill.
After the approval, the Senate President, Senator Ahmad Lawan, said the National Assembly would guard against what he called frivolous expenditures by the executive.
‘The borrowing plan we have approved is not a new loan. What we did was to provide the necessary resolutions for its implementation. Every spending counts. Our committees must be alive to oversee the expenditures. No frivolous expenditure should be entertained. Nigeria’s 2021 budget already has a deficit of N5.6 trillion,’ the senate president said.
It will be recalled that President Buhari had in May 2021, asked the National Assembly to consider and approve the loan.
The President had said that the loan would be used to fund projects from priority sectors of the economy which included power, transportation, agriculture, rural development, education, health, provision of counterpart funding for multilateral and bilateral projects, defence and water resources.