Recession: Buhari seeks N’Assembly’s approval for $29.96bn loan

 President Muhammadu Buhari has sent a request to the House of Representatives and Senate to borrow the sum of $29.960 billion to provide infrastructure and execute its safety net programmes from 2016 to 2018.

The money, the President said, will be used to finance projects with emphasis on infrastructure, agriculture, health, education, water supply, growth and employment generation, poverty reduction through
social safe­ty net programmes and govern­ance and financial management reforms among others.
He said the devastated North East Zone will get the sum of $575 million from the loan.

In a letter, he sent to the National Assembly on Tuesday, Buhari said that proposed projects and programmes will take the sum of $11.274 billion, special national infrastructure projects ($10.686 billion), Euro bonds ($4.5 billion) and Federal Government budget support ($3.5 billion).
The President in the letter titled: “Request for approval of Federal Government 2016-2018 external borrowing (rolling) plan”, said that the projects and programmes in the borrowing plan were selected based on positive technical economic evaluations, as well as the contribution they will make to the socio-economic development of the country.

The specific areas, according to Buhari, are employment generation and poverty reduction and protection of the most vulnerable and very poor segment in the so­ciety.

Buhari said that the projects and programmes will be imple­mented in all the 36 states of the federation and the Federal Capital Territory (FCT).
He said: “Considering the huge infrastructural deficit currently being experienced in the country and enormous financial resources required to fill the gap in the face of dwindling resources and the inability of our annual budgetary provision to bridge the deficit, it has become necessary to resort to prudent external borrowing to bridge the financing gap which will be applied to key infrastructure projects.”

The President said that the entire projects earmarked for the North East Zone included Polio Eradication Support and Routine Immunisation ($125 million), community and social development project ($75million); Nigeria States Health Programme In­vestment Project ($125 million); State Education Programme Investment Project ($100 million), Nigeria Youth Employment and Social Support Project ($100 million), and Fadama III Project ($50 million).

President Buhari also sent another letter requesting for vire­ment of funds appropriated for special intervention (recurrent) and special Intervention (capita) for the funding of critical items.

The total recurrent and capital fund requested by Buhari through virement is N180.839 billion.

While the recurrent expenditure requirement is N16.630 billion, the capital expenditure requirement is N14.208 billion.

While the National Youth Service Corps (NYSC) gets N19.792 billion, the Amnesty Programme receives N35 billion.

“The provision for NYSC in 2016 Budget is inadequate to cater for the number of corps mem­bers to be mobilised this year. In fact, an additional N8.5 billion is required to cover the backlog of 129,469 corps members who are due for call up but will otherwise be left out till next year due to funding constraints.

“The provision for Presidential Initiative for the North East (N12 billion) has a balance of less than N1.5 billion and there continue to be emerging challenge with the Internally Displaced Persons (IDPs) in the zone,” Buhari said.

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