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Buhari Seeks NASS Approval For $6.9bn Loan

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By Ganiyat Ganiyu

Abuja, (An24) – President Muhammadu Buhari on Wednesday, April 27, requested for the approval of the National Assembly to borrow $6.9bn in other to faciliate some pending projects.

Senate President Bukola Saraki read the letter to senators at the resumed plenary on Wednesday.

Buhari said the loan was for the execution of rail projects, rehabilitation of the North-East and projects in education, agriculture and health sectors.

He said the China Eximbank, will provide over $5.8bn of the loan, while the World Bank will make provisions for the balance.

Some of the rail projects include the Coastal Railway Project (Lagos-Calabar segment), which has $3.4bn; the Lagos-Kano Railway Modernisation Project (Lagos-Ibadan Segment), $1.2bn; and the Lagos-Kano Railway Modernisation Project (Kano-Kaduna Segment), $1.1bn.

The letter read in part, “As you are aware, the funds available under the China African Fund are limited and loan applications from all over African countries are funded based on first come, first served and therefore, there is an urgent need to sign these loans as soon as they are approved or we may lose out in the event that we delay in signing the loan agreement.

“These loans form part of the overall money for the rail strategy. We are in the process of completing the concession of the Port Harcourt-Maiduguri line to immediately link the eastern part of the nation.”

The President said $575m would be sourced from the World Bank for rehabilitation of areas in the North East destroyed by Boko Haram.

“The World Bank has approved a sum of $575m to assist the Federal Government of Nigeria in these reconstruction and rehabilitation efforts as well as for the procurement of vaccines for national routine immunisation to eradicate polio after the outbreak in the North-East in 2016,” Buhari stated.

The President stated that the World Bank would support the government’s social welfare programme.

“Given the current state of our economy, we need to urgently address some of our infrastructure deficiencies in order to quicken the livelihood of our people.

“It has become imperative that we work together in an expeditious way out of recession and back to growth,” the letter added.

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