Buhari seeks N’Assembly approval for $1bn Eurobond

Buhari seeks N’Assembly approval for $1bn Eurobond
President Muhammadu Buhari

 The Federal Government has asked the National Assembly to approve the plan to raise $1bn through Eurobond issuance.

It was gathered on Tuesday that President Muhammadu Buhari had transmitted a letter to the National Assembly to seek legislative approval for the Eurobond issuance, which might force the lawmakers to come out of their ongoing recess.

The decision to seek approval was part of the discussion when the leadership of the National Assembly met with Presidency officials on Tuesday.

A reliable source, who was privy to the meeting, told our correspondent that the discussion was aimed at preventing the new plan from suffering the same fate of rejection as the $29.9bn loan plan when it was presented for legislative approval.

The source said, “The fallout of the meeting between the Senate President, Bukola Saraki; Speaker of the House of Representatives, Yakubu Dogara; and the Presidency on Tuesday is that the Federal Government wants the National Assembly to approve its new request for a $1bn Eurobond. It appears that since the approval of proposed $29.9bn external loan has not been obtained, this is the other option available to the government.

“The National Assembly will reconvene anytime from now on the executive’s request. The letter got here last Thursday after the plenary had been adjourned for three weeks to allow the Ministries, Departments and Agencies of government to come and defend their budgets.”

Buhari had in October 2016 written to the National Assembly to approve his administration’s external borrowing plan of $29.960bn for the execution of key programmes and infrastructural projects across the country for the period 2016 to 2018.

The President explained that the external borrowing plan was to fund infrastructure in agriculture, health, education, water supply, growth and employment generation, poverty reduction through social safety net programmes, among others.

But the Senate on November 1, 2016 rejected the borrowing plan for lack of details.

The House of Representatives had said that it could not act alone on the request since the Senate had rejected it.

The Chairman of the House Committee on Media and Public Affairs, Mr. Abdulrasak Namadas, had said that the hands of the House were tied on the issue.

He said the House would wait till the questions raised by the Senate were addressed.

Speaking further on the Eurobond plan, the source disclosed that the leadership of the Senate and the House of Representatives would hold a joint meeting on Tuesday night at Saraki’s residence to determine the date that the lawmakers would reconvene.

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