Nigeria Senate approves $5.8 billion borrowing request from President Buhari

ABUJA– Nigeria’s upper chamber of parliament on Wednesday approved President Muhammadu Buhari’s request for $5.8 billion in borrowing from international lenders.

The money from the World Bank, China Export and Import Bank, German Consortium and Islamic Development Bank among other lenders, is for power projects, water and sanitation, malaria eradication programmes and agriculture projects.

The borrowing is part of the 2021 budget to deal with the effects of the coronavirus pandemic and a sharp drop in oil prices, which has dented Nigeria’s spending plans because oil sales make up 90% of its foreign exchange earnings.

The request was approved by the lower house on Tuesday.

The Debt Management Office said on Tuesday Nigeria’s total public debt rose to $92.75 billion as of September, up 18% from a year earlier.

Africa’s largest economy has been racking up debt to fund infrastructure projects and boost a fragile economy now recovering from recession following the impact of the oil price crash triggered by the pandemic.

Buhari has submitted a 16.39 trillion naira budget for 2022 to parliament for approval. Lawmakers can make changes to the budget before it is sent back to the president to pass into law if he agrees to any revisions.