Senate Approves Tinubu’s $500million World Bank Loan For Electricity Meters

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Nigeria’s upper legislative chamber, the Senate, has approved President Bola Tinubu $500 million World Bank loan request.

According to the proposal made to the Senate, the loan was authorised on Wednesday after evaluating the Senate Committee on Local and Foreign Debts’ report. It would be used to purchase prepaid electricity metres for Nigerians across the country.

The fund approved for the Bureau of Public Enterprises, by the Senate came after the presentation of a report by the Vice Chairman of the Committee, Haruna Manu.

Presenting the report, Manu said the $500m for the BPE could not be approved because the agency did not appear before the committee to defend the proposal

The lawmaker stated that the terms and conditions under which the loan was brought would not in any manner compromise the sustainability of Nigeria’s economic growth or hinder the integrity and independence of Nigeria as a sovereign state.

He said, “The committee recommends that the Senate do approve the ongoing negotiations of the external borrowing in the sum of $500m for BPE; that the perforations of the loan from the funding agency be forwarded to the National Assembly before execution.”

The Senate had earlier put on hold the approval of the N$500m because the BPE was unavailable to defend it when it was scheduled to appear before its committees.

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But after the defence of the borrowing, the Senate on Wednesday gave its approval for the loan in a unanimous decision presided over by its Deputy President, Barau Jibrin.

The $500m loan, which is under the 2022-2024 external borrowing plan, was part of the $7.94bn World Bank loan which Tinubu sought the Senate’s approval for on November 1, 2023.

The President had also sought the approval for €100 million then.

Platinum Times Nigeria reported on December 30, that the Senate approved borrowing $7.4 billion during its special plenary on December 30, 2023, after considering the report of the committee.

Nigeria’s total public debt reached N87. 91 trillion by the end of the third quarter of 2023, details from the Debt Management Office (DMO) have shown. According to the statistics published late last year, this marks a 0.61 per cent increase from the June 2023 figure of N87. 38 trillion.

The International Monetary Fund, IMF, in April 2024, projected Nigeria’s public debt to Gross Domestic Product (GDP) ratio to reach 46.6 percent in 2024, and 46.8 percent in 2025.

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