2020 Budget: FG to borrow $5.5billion to finance appropriation act

The House of Representatives is currently considering an amendment to the 2020 appropriations act following a request by the President, Muhammadu Buhari.
In a letter read by the Speaker, Femi Gbajabiamila on Tuesday during plenary, the President requested the approval of the House of Representatives to borrow a sum of $5.5billion from external sources to implement the budget.
The 2020 budget has been affected by the COVID19 outbreak and the decline in the price of oil.
The loan facilities will be from the International Monetary Fund (IMF); $3.4 billion, World Bank; $1.5billion, African Development Bank (AfDB) $500million and Islamic Development Bank (IDB) $113million.
According to the letter, the federal government will also take other loans for COVID-19 intervention projects.
IDB will also support Nigeria with $600million to respond to the challenges from COVID 19, while AfDB is expected to lend Nigeria $148million to strengthen the healthcare system and improve response to COVID-19 and financing smallholder farmers to mitigate food security.
Furthermore, the African Export-Import Bank will also finance critical medical supplies to combat COVID-19 with the sum of $500million, while the Export-Import Bank of Brazil will support Nigeria with 995million Euro to enhance mechanization of Agriculture and agro-processing in the country.
Following the reading of the letter, the House considered the amendment to the 2020 budget and the bill was referred to the House committees on appropriation and finance.
Leading the debate on the budget, the Majority Leader, Hassan Ado Dogwa asked the committees to approach its work as a usual business but implore them to do a thorough job.
Raising concerns on the budget, deputy minority leader, Toby Okechukwu criticised the composition of the budget, as he noted that the budget does not contain provisions that will improve the lives of Nigerians.
“We still have a proposal for palliatives and social welfare. Nigerians do not want palliatives. Rather for them to carry out their livelihood.
Social welfare should have a sunset.” Adding that the new amendment has not “addressed healthcare.”
Also speaking on the budget, Minority Leader, Ndudi Elumelu called for upward review of the oil benchmark which stands at $25 per barrel. He noted that the benchmark should be increased to $27 per barrel to finance the deficit.
Supporting the bill, the Chief Whip of the House, Muhammed Monguno said that “This bill is realistic, apt and germane, particularly at this time. It behoves on us to think realistically to adjust the budget in that manner. It is against this backdrop that the executive sponsored this amendment. It is not just the passage of the budget, it is the implementation.”
When the bill was put to question by the Deputy Speaker, Idris Wase, who presided over the session, the “ayes” had it and it was referred to relevant committees of the House.

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