Senate today approved the $5.5 billion external loan requested by President Muhammadu Buhari to finance Federal Government projects.
The approval followed the consideration of the report of the Senate Committee on Local and Foreign Debts whose Chairman, Senator Shehu Sani, asked that the loan be approved as they are in line with the borrowing plan of the 2017 Appropriation act. He said the government will also reduce the nation's debt burden when it refinances local debts with funds sourced from foreign financial institutions. "If our foreign exchange rate goes to N500/USD1, we are going to have a very serious problem on generating enough foreign exchange to pay the foreign debts". He added that the $2.5 billion will create more borrowing space for the private sector. "
"The projects include the Mambilla hydro-power project, construction of the second runway of the Nnamdi Azikwe International Airport, counterpart funding of rail projects and construction of Bonny road with a bridge across Opobo channel."".
The committee said that the Mambila Hydro Power Project which had always been abandoned when completed will add substantially to the National grid and improve power output of the country.
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Ashafa, elected to represent the Lagos East senatorial district on the platform of the ruling All Progressives Congress (APC) said the federal government led by the APC was working to deliver the dividends of democracy to all Nigerians across the 6 geo-political zones of the country.
"For us in the Senate, we have taken our time to look at the necessity and the imperative for approving the loan".
The government intends to spend money on infrastructure projects to diversify the OPEC member's oil-dependent economy.