Jonathan Wants N664B External Loan AS Senate Confirms New Ministers

Source: EMMA UCHE -
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ABUJA, August 10, (THEWILL) - President Goodluck Jonathan today forwarded a request to the senate to be allowed to borrow the sum of US$4.427.91 (N664.186billion) as an outstanding 2010 external borrowing plan.

The Senate also at a special sitting called to consider the Independent National Electoral Commission budget screened and confirmed three new Ministers. They are; Hajia Salamatu Hussaini Suleiman (KEBBI) who was renominated having served in the dissolved cabinet as Minister for Women Affairs; Yabawa Lawan Wabi (Borno) and Olorogun Kenneth O. Gbagi (Delta).

President Jonathan explained in his letter to the Senate that the amount represents part of the US$5.242 billion earlier requested for which US$915 million was approved last April.

The letter read in part; "I write to draw your attention to the 2010 external borrowing plan which I forwarded to the National Assembly in April 2010 for your consideration along with the 2010 budget proposals which was graciously approved by the Senate and House of Representatives resolution 85 of Tuesday April 27, 2010 and 92 of Thursday, April 22, 2010 respectively.

"The borrowing plan was segregated for purposes of comprehension into three broad categories namely; projects that had been negotiated and those that were being appraised as well as the pipeline projects/programme. The sum total for the negotiated projects stood at USD1,854.71 billion and that of the appraised projects was USD1.073.2 million while USD2.415.0 billion represented the sum of the pipeline projects. The categories of projects come to a total of USD5.242billion," the president wrote.

He however reminded Senators that while considering the 2010 budget in conjunction with the borrowing plan, the National Assembly "graciously approved only the International Development Association (IDA) component of the negotiated projects in the sum of USD915.0million out of USD1.854.71 million leaving a balance of USD939.71 for negotiated projects, USD1, 073.2 million for appraised projects and USD2, 415.0 billion for pipeline projects. The entire balance now remaining for National Assembly’s approval is USD4, 427.91 billion.

Jonathan further told Senators that there is no doubt that the approval given on the component of the negotiated projects would impact tremendously on the provision of critical infrastructure which the country is in dire need to jump-start the engine of economic growth and improve the living standards of citizens.

"Also, it is pertinent to add that the proposed loans are highly concessionary credit facilities which the country needs to access in order to develop our infrastructure and create employment opportunities. I have directed the Honourable Minister of Finance to effectively monitor the various projects to ensure that the funds are judiciously utilized and that there is value for money," he further wrote.