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President Buhari is seeking approval from National Assembly to borrow about $30billion external loan

President Muhammadu Buhari

President Muhammadu Buhari has approached the National Assembly for approval to borrow $29.96billion for the execution of key projects across the nation from now up till 2018.

In a second letter, he also sought legislative approval for a N180.8bn in the 2016 budget to take care of some sectors of the economy.

The two letters which the president submitted to the Senate President, Dr. Bukola Saraki and the Speaker of the House of Representatives, Hon. Yakubu Dogara, which were read in the two chambers yesterday.

The first letter which is the external borrowing of about $30billion would be spent on key infrastructural projects in agriculture, health, education, water supply, growth and employment generation, poverty alleviation etc.

“The total cost of the projects and programmes under the borrowing (rolling) plan is $29.960bn, made up of proposed projects and programmes’ loan of $11.274bn; special national infrastructure projects, $10.686bn; Eurobonds, $4.5bn; and Federal Government budget support, $3.5bn,” Buhari stated.

According to Buhari, the huge external loan is necessary considering the level of infrastructural deficit Nigeria is faced with.

“Considering the huge infrastructure deficit currently being experienced in the country and the enormous financial resources required to fill the gap in the face of dwindling resources, and the inability of our annual budgetary provisions to bridge the deficit, it has become necessary to resort to prudent external borrowing to bridge the financing gap, which will largely be applied to key infrastructure projects, namely power, railway and roads projects, among others,” he stated.

In the second request of N180billion, Buhari noted that it would be the transfer of money already allocated for special intervention programmes to critical recurrent and capital items.

The request is urgent and important due to some certain reasons, like provisions for personnel cost, inadequate provision for the Amnesty Programme, provision for the war against insurgency and the alarming depreciation of the naira.

President Buhari’s letter read in part below;

“In the course of implementing the 2016 Appropriation Act, several MDAs have presented issues pertaining to salary shortfalls, the settlement of part of which has led to the depletion of the public service wage adjustment. This vote, which had a provision of N33,597,400,000, now has a balance of N2,758,296,000.

“The Committee on Salary Shortfalls, set up by the Minister of Finance, has come up with a figure of N41,875,983,020 as the amount required to settle salary shortfalls of non-lPPlS MDAs. Similarly, most of the lPPlS (Integrated Payroll and Personnel Information System) MDAs have already been notified by the Office of the Accountant-General of the Federation that they would soon be locked out of the IPPIS platform, as their personnel cost budgets would not cover salaries for the rest of the year.

“The contingency vote of N12bn has a balance of only N1,827,570,443. It is considered necessary to augment this vote in the light of frequently emerging contingencies. Only N20,000,000,000 (already fully released) was provided in the 2016 budget for the Niger Delta Amnesty Programme. Consequently, the allowances to ex-militants have only been paid up to May 2016. This is creating a lot of restiveness and compounding the security challenge in the Niger Delta.”

“The provision for the NYSC (National Youth Service Corps) in the 2016 budget is inadequate to cater for the number of corps members to be mobilised this year. In fact, an additional N8.5bn is required to cover the backlog of 129,469 corps members who are currently due for call-up but would otherwise be left out till next year due to funding constraints. Similarly, the provision for meal subsidy for the Unity Colleges is inadequate for the number of students in the schools.”

“You may also wish to be informed that the Federal Ministry of Power, Works and Housing has also requested for the virement of the sum of N300m appropriated under the 2016 appropriation of the Transmission Company of Nigeria for the construction of the 132KVA substation at Gwaram, Jigawa State, with Project Code No. TCN 018023829, and the construction of two units of 60MVA 132/33 in Gagarawa, Jigawa State.

“However, it was observed that while the line to be vired from exists in the budget book published by National Assembly, the lines to be vired to do not exist. It is, therefore, recommended that the sum of N300m meant for the construction of the 132KVA substation at Gwaram, Jigawa State be vired to budget line TCN 018021775 for the reconstruction of fallen transmission towers and replacement of glass insulators, etc., which have an appropriation of N4,880,000,000.”

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