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Senate okays N10tr loans, jerks 2020 budget to N10.8tr

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The upper legislative chamber of the National Assembly approved $28 billion loans (N10.08 trillion) for President Muhammadu Buhari within a year, Senate President Ahmad Lawan has disclosed.

In a speech to mark his first anniversary in office, the presiding officer said the facilities were sanctioned to fund major projects.He stated: “In order to support and enable the government raise the necessary funds for national development, there were requests for approval to borrow, both from the domestic and foreign sources. We have approved foreign loans of about $28 billion in the last one year. We had ensured proper scrutiny for the desired projects and programmes of government and the conditions of the facilities before approving the requests.”

Lawan reiterated the commitment of the Red Chamber in ensuring that the loans were judiciously deployed. Also yesterday, the lawmakers jerked the 2020 budget by N216 billion from N10.594 trillion N10.810 trillion amid falling oil prices.

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The passage followed the consideration of the report of the Committee on the Appropriation Act (Amendment) Bill 2020. The breakdown shows that of the N10,810,800,872,072 to be disbursed from the Consolidated Revenue Fund, N428,032,186,792 is for statutory transfers; N2,951,710,000,000 goes for debt servicing; N4,942,269,251,934 for recurrent expenditure and capital expenditure gets N2,488,789,433,344.

Because the revised financial plan is to be largely financed from a huge external loan, the vote for budget service increased from N2,725,498,930 to N2. 95 trillion

Also, the budget deficit has risen from N2.28 trillion to N4.17 trillion. The document is predicated on oil production of 1.8 million barrels daily and a benchmark of $28 per barrel.

The official exchange rate was also adjusted upward to N360/$1. In passing the revised financial document, the legislative chamber explained that “the total aggregate recommended sum is higher than the proposed figure because of the accommodation of the request by the executive for additional funding for COVlD-19 to strengthen the capacity of all the states of the federation to tackle the challenges of the pandemic, contingency and GAVI/immunisation and the restoration/upward adjustments of important and people-oriented projects and programmes that were in the 2020 Appropriation Act but were either completely removed or substantially reduced in the bill.”

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Ahmad LawanSenate
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