President Muhammadu Buhari on Thursday resubmitted a $29.96 billion loan request to the Senate for approval.
Recall that the move by President Buhari to take $29.96 billion loan was rejected by the 8th National Assembly in November, 2018, on the excuse that the breakdown of the borrowing plan didn’t accompany the request.
However, the request for the borrowing plan has been resubmitted to the 9th Senate.
President Buhari explained in the letter read on the floor of the Senate by President of the Senate, Lawan, at the commencement of plenary session that the renewal of the loan request was because of the rejection of same by the last Senate.
Explaining the importance of the request, President Buhari said the approval of his request would ensure prompt implementation of projects under the borrowing plan with special emphasis on infrastructure, agriculture, health, education, water supply, growth and employment generation, poverty reduction through social safety net programmes, governance and financial management reforms, among others.
The request of President Buhari resubmitted to the Senate is tagged, ‘Request for the National Assembly to Reconsider and Approve the Federal Government’s 2016-2018 External Borrowing Plan.’
Part of the letter reads: “Pursuant to section 21 and 27 of the Debt Management Office (Establishment) Act.
“I hereby request for resolution of the Senate to approve the Federal Government’s 2016 and 2018 external borrowing plan as well as relevant projects under this plan.
“Specifically, the Senate is invited to note that while I had transmitted the 2016-2018 external borrowing plan to the 8th National Assembly in September 2016, this plan was not approved in its entirety by the legislature.
“Only the Federal Government’s emergency projects, for the North-East’s four states projects and one China Exim Bank assisted railway modernisation project for Lagos-Ibadan segment were approved out of a total of 39 projects.
“The outstanding projects in the plan that were not approved by the legislature are nevertheless critical to the delivery of government policies and programmes relating to power, mining, roads agriculture, health, water and educational sectors.
“These outstanding projects are well advanced in terms of their preparation consistent to the 2016 debt analysis undertaken by DMO and were approved by the Federal Executive Council (FEC) in August 2016 under the 2016-2018 external borrowing plan.
“Accordingly, I have attached for your kind consideration, relevant information from the Honourable Minister of Finance Budget and National Planning, the specific outstanding projects under the 2016 -2018 external borrowing plan for which the legislative approval is been sought.
“I have also directed the minister to make herself available to provide any additional information or clarification which you may require to facilitate prompt approval of the outstanding projects under this plan.”
In a related development, President Buhari, in another letter, addressed to the Senate President transmitted the Companies and Allied Matters Bill, 2019 to the National Assembly for consideration and passage.
The letter reads: “Pursuant to section 58 of the constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria 1999 (as amended), I hereby forward the Companies and Allied Matters Bill, 2019 for consideration and passage into law.
“The Senate may wish to note that, in this bill, section 26(5) of the extant Companies and Allied Matters Act has been amended to preserve the powers of the Attorney-General of the Federation to approve the registration of companies limited by guarantee and reflect the Ease of Doing Business principles in Executive Order No. 1 of 2017 on the Promotion of Transparency and Efficiency in the Business Environment.”
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