By Ebitonye Akpodigha
President Muhammadu Buhari is looking towards borrowing close to $30 billion to provide infrastructure projects for the benefit of Nigerians.
But to make this possible, he has written to the National Assembly (NASS), seeking its nod to go ahead with his plan.
In the letter presented to House of Representatives, Mr Buhari explained that he hopes to secure an external loan of about $29.960 billion between 2016 and 2018.
“I wish to refer to the above subject and to submit the attached draft of Federal Government 2016-2018 External Borrowing (Rolling) Plan for consideration and early approval by the National Assembly to ensure prompt implementation of the project.
“The project cut across all sectors with special 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,” part of the letter read.
He further said, “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 infrastructural deficit, it has become necessary to resort to prudent external borrowing to bridge the financial gap which will largely be applied to key infrastructure projects namely: power, railway and roads project among others.”
In his analysis, the President explained that, “The total cost of the projects and programmes under the Borrowing (Rolling) Plan is $29.960 billion made up of Proposed Projects and Programmes loan of $11.274 billion Special National Infrastructure Projects $10.686billion Euro Bonds of $4.5 billion and Federal Government Budget Support of $3.5 billion.”
Mr Buhari also explained in the letter that, “I would like to underscore the fact that the projects and programmes in the Borrowing Plan were selected based on positive technical economic evaluations as well as the contribution they would make to the socio-economic development of the country including employment generation and poverty reduction and protection of the most vulnerable and very poor segment of the Nigerian society. The projects and programmes will be implemented in all the 36 states and the Federal Capital Territory.
He further said, “Honourable Members may also wish to know that with the current relative peace and stability in the North East, it has become extremely urgent to start reconstruction and rehabilitation of the region in order to create jobs for the people and rehabilitate the schools to get the children off the streets and into schools. The World Bank has also provided a sum of $450million to assist the FGN in this reconstruction and rehabilitation efforts.
“The recent outbreak of polio in the North East is a matter of concern, especially following the recent delisting of Nigeria from the list of polio endemic countries. This therefore calls for urgent and immediate action to stem the tide of the outbreak.
“The World Bank has approved a loan in the sum of $125 million to the FGN to procure vaccines and other ancillary to stop and eventually eliminate the outbreak.
“$125 million for Polio Eradication Support and routine immunization Project, $75 million for Community and Social Development Project, $125 million for Nigeria States Health Programme Investment Project $100 million for State Education Programme Investment Project, another $100million for Nigeria Youth Employment and Social Support Project, and $150 million for Fadama III Project.”
Meanwhile, Speaker of the House of Representatives, Mr Yakubu Dogara, who read the President’s letter on Monday, noted that the issue would be discussed in the House before the end of the week.
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