Reps Approve Buhari’s $22.79bn Foreign Loan Request

Some members of the House of Representatives during plenary

 

The House of Representatives has approved President Muhammadu Buhari’s request to borrow foreign loans to the sum of $22.79bn for the Federal Government.

According to the Government, the loans are part of the 2016–2018 Federal Government External Borrowing (Rolling) Plan laid before the House on March 5, 2020, before the President’s fresh loan request of $5.5 billion on May 28, 2020.

The Senate had approved the loan on March 6 but the House suspended its consideration of the request indefinitely.

Almost two months later, Speaker of the House, Femi Gbajabiamila, on Tuesday explained why the lawmakers suspended the consideration of the loan request.

While presiding over Tuesday’s plenary, Gbajabiamila stated that the suspension was due to the protest by National Assembly members from the South-East over the exclusion of the geopolitical zone.

Chairman of the Committee on Loans and Debt Management, Ahmed Safana, presenting his report, notified the lawmakers that the Port Harcourt-Maiduguri rail line project had been inserted into the borrowing plan.

In its recommendation, the committee asked the Federal Government to source funding for the Port Harcourt-Maiduguri rail line in the next borrowing plan.

Below is the breakdown of the loans.

• World Bank – 2, 854, 000, 000

• African Development Bank – 1,888, 950, 000

• Islamic Development Bank – 110,000,000

• JICA – 200,000,000

• German Development Bank – 200,000,000

• China Eximbank – 17,065, 496,773

• AFD – 480,000,000

Total = 22, 798, 446, 773

President Buhari Advised Against Foreign Loans

President Buhari Advised Against Foreign LoansThe World Vice President of Global Industrial Union who is also the former National Vice President of the Nigerian Labour Congress, Issa Aremu has called on President Muhammadu Buhari to heed late Fidel Castro’s advice on the danger of indiscriminate foreign loans and credits.

Fidel Castro, is the iconic Cuban revolutionary leader who presided over the Republic of Cuba as Prime Minister from 1959 to 1976 and then as President from 1976 to 2008.

He died on Friday November 25, 2016 in Havana, Cuba at the age of 90.

Aremu made the call in Ilorin, the Kwara state capital during a press conference on the death of the former Cuban leader and the need for Nigerian leaders to emulate his exemplary leadership style.

“His death is a shock coming just few months after the global progressive forces including the Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC) and Industrial Global Union marked his 90th birthday.

“Fidel Castro had long in his decade-long battle of developmental ideas made a case for self-reliance. He had compared the debt burden to that torment in Greek mythology in which a man is doomed to push a large stone uphill for all eternity, a stone that always rolls down again before reaching the top. Debtors, he maintained ‘don’t need new loans’.

“Fidel has since been proven right that most debts were unpayable and uncollectible.

“We must credit the series of debt cancellation of the two decades to audacious alternative views of Fidel Castro, not the astuteness of “negotiators” and so called altruism of creditors.

“President Buhari should emulate the selfless leadership of Fidel Castro because no country can develop through loans and credit. He must work his talk, if he is truly paying tribute to Castro and must withdraw his application for loan to the National Assembly.

“Buhari should not take us back to indebtedness and should be selfless. Buhari and his cabinet members should set example by using the state house hospital,” Aremu said.

The labour leader also berated what he called the western media’s posthumous distortion of history which presented Fidel as a rebel and strong man who with iron hands muzzled the people of Cuban Island.

He called on African leaders to ‎know their history and remember Castro’s contribution to Africa.

‎He also called on Nigerian leaders from federal to state level to emulated Castro’s selfless nature, especially the two-termed state governors, to stop collecting outrageous pensions allocated to them by the state house of assembly.

‎According to him, “the outrageous pension given to two-term governors call for concern because they are under-developing states.

“Comrade Adams Oshiomole as a comrade governor, with his remarkable achievements having beaten other governors, should not join them because the money is unnecessary.

“If he does so, it will amount to the saying that ‘if you can’t beat them, you join them’ but he has beaten them with his achievements as governor.

“State houses of assembly should make laws for public good not for executive benefit‎. The danger of the pension law is that it is now getting addictive and spreading like wild fire to other states of the federation and to me it is pure legal robbing.”

Emir Sanusi Warns Against $30bn Foreign Loan

Emir of Kano, Muhammad SanusiThe Emir of Kano, Sanusi Lamido Sanusi, believes that a foreign loan of 30 billion dollars would be difficult for Nigeria to pay back before the end of President Buhari’s tenure in 2019.

He has therefore warned the Nigerian President not to take the proposed loan but rather focus on bringing the country out of recession by investing more in the economy.

The former Governor of the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN), made the call on Friday at a one-day dialogue forum organised by the Savannah Centre for Diplomacy, Democracy & Development (SCDDD) and Ford Foundation, in Nigeria’s capital city, Abuja.

He explained that the idea of a foreign loan would make sense if the country “can get it at concessionary terms” and “if they get the loan to invest in the power sector, energy and road” and similar infrastructure.

But he insisted that as long as the country would have to pay back in two years, the idea was wrong.

“If we cannot raise $2 billon in two years and you want to borrow $30 billion in two years to the end of the life of the administration. The government should rather pay more attention to investment and support the private sectors to grow the economy.

“The economy that has five exchange rates can’t borrow $30 billion. They can’t lend you the $30 billion when you have five foreign exchange rates and with the current bombing of oil pipelines by the Niger Delta militants.

“So, on which foreign exchange rate can you get the loan?”

Emir Sanusi advised the Buhari administration to focus on reviving the Nigerian economy.