The Senate has approved President Bola Ahmed Tinubu’s request on the 2022-2024 external borrowing rolling plan of $7.4 billion and 100 million euros.
This followed the adoption of the report of the Senate Committee on Local and Foreign Debt at plenary.
Presenting the report, Haruna Manu, the Vice Chairman of the Committee, said the committee noted with utmost importance, the genuine and grave concerns of Nigerians about the level, sustainability, and serviceability of the nation’s borrowing activities in the last decade.
He said the debt service figures constitute a huge drain on the nation’s revenue to the extent that it accounts for over 30 per cent of its expenditure in the annual budget.
Manu said due to the shortfall in the nation’s annual revenue in relation to its need for rapid infrastructural and human capital development, the National Assembly had to pass a deficit budget every year.
This, he said, required borrowing to finance the deficit in the budget.
Mr Manu said the borrowing request seeking approval of the National Assembly was proposed to be borrowed from various financial institutions.
According to him, the proposed projects in the Ministries of Education, Agriculture and Women Affairs were mostly ongoing projects and programmes on which externally borrowed funds have been spent in the past, including loans.
He said the projects have a great multiplier effect on stimulating economic growth through infrastructure development, job creation and poverty alleviation, and stimulation of commercial and engineering activities.
The Taraba senator said the projects also have consequent tax revenues payable to the government as a result of the productive activities.
He said the committees found that the World Bank has expressed its willingness to provide funds to improve the reliability of electricity supply, achieve financial and fiscal sustainability, enhance accountability and also ensure that all existing grid-connected capacity is utilised to deliver more power.
According to him, the projects also aim to improve states’ land administration, business-enabling environment and public-private partnerships.
Similarly, the Senate also gave expeditious approval for the securitisation of the balance of N7.3 trillion ways and Means revenue in the Consolidated Revenue Fund (CRF) of Nigeria.
The approval followed the consideration of President Bola Tinubu’s request in a letter addressed to the President of the Senate, Godswill Akpabio, and read at plenary.
The Senate also confirmed the appointment of Executive Commissioners for the Nigerian Upstream Petroleum Regulatory Commission (NUPRC).
This followed the adoption of the report of the Senate Joint Committee on Petroleum Upstream on the screening of the nominees.
Those confirmed were Bashir Indabawa, North-West, Executive commissioner, exploration and acreage management
Kelechi Ofoegbu, South-East, Executive Commissioner, Corporate Services and Administration.
Enorense Amadasu, South-South , Executive Commissioner, Development and Production.
Babajide Fasina, South-West, Executive Commissioner, Economic Regulation and Strategic Planning.
The Senate, thereafter, adjourned plenary until 23 January.