The Senate has approved federal government’s request to obtain external loans to the tune of $8,325,526,537 and €490,000,000 under the 2018-2020 External Borrowing (Rolling) Plan.
This is just as the upper chamber confirmed the appointment of Prof Sani Adam as Commissioner of the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC).
The approval of the loan at plenary Thursday followed the consideration of a report on the 2018-2020 External Borrowing (Rolling) Plan by the Committee on Local and Foreign Debt.
Presenting the report, Chairman of the Committee, Senator Clifford Ordia, said the Committee noted with utmost importance, the genuine and very serious concerns of Nigerians about the level and sustainability/serviceability of the country’s borrowings in the last Decade.
According to him: “Our (Nigeria’s) debt service figures constitute a huge drain on our revenue to the extent that it account for over 30 percent of our expenditure in the annual budget.”
He explained that due to the shortfall in the country’s annual revenues in relation to the need for rapid infrastructural and human capital development, “we have had to pass deficit budget every year, requiring us to borrow to finance the deficit in our budget.”
Ordia noted that out of the total borrowing request of $36,837,281,256 contained in the re-forwarded request of Mr. President, a sum of $26,154,536,533 is for funds proposed to be borrowed from various financial institutions from the Peoples Republic of China.
He stressed that the proposed projects in the Ministries’ of Transportation, FCT, Aviation, Works & Housing, Agriculture and Water Resources and some Commissions such as National Universities Commission, North East Development Commission and the National Identity Management Commission are mostly ongoing projects and programmes in respect of which External Borrowed funds have been spent in the past, including loans.
“These projects have a great multiplier effect on stimulating economic growth through infrastructure Development, Job creation and Poverty alleviation, stimulation of Commercial and Engineering activities and the consequent tax revenues payable to Government as a result of these productive activities” Ordia explained.
The funding agencies are: World Bank – $796,000,000; China Exim Bank – $2,901,026,509; Industrial Commercial Bank of China – $2,484,555,304; African Development Bank – $104,200,000; Africa Growing Together Fund – $20,000,000; French Development Agency – €240,000,000; European Investment Bank – €250,000,000; European ECA/KfW/IPEX/AFC – $1,959,744,724; and International Fund For Agricultural Development (IFAD) – $60,000,000.
Also on Thursday, the upper chamber the nomination of Professor Sani Muhammad Adam (North Central) as National Commissioner of INEC.
The confirmation of the nominee was sequel to the presentation and consideration of a report by the Committee on Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC).
Chairman of the Committee, Senator Kabiru Gaya, in his presentation, said the request to confirm Adam by President Buhari was made in accordance with Sections 153(1)(f) and 154(1) of the 1999 Constitution (as amended).
According to the ranking Senator, the Committee in furtherance of its mandate to investigate a petition against the nominee following the suspension of his confirmation on Tuesday by the upper chamber, received explanations regarding his personal life, work experience, suitability, competence and integrity for appointment as National Electoral Commissioner representing the North-Central geopolitical zone.
He said: “After a thorough investigation into the petition against the nominee, the Committee found out that the petition against him was paltry and that the reason for the termination (not dismissal as alleged by the petitioner) was not based on gross misconduct but on the rationalization policy of the federal government.
“The court judgement was based on whether or not his appointment should have been terminated and this has nothing to do with his integrity or moral uprightness”.
Adam was, thereafter, confirmed as a National Commissioner of INEC in accordance with the Committee’s recommendation.