Six months in the saddle, the present administration of President Bola Ahmed Tinubu appears to be toeing the line of its predecessor seeking the Senate approval to borrow $8,699,168,559 and €100 million (approximately N7 trillion) to carry out critical projects across the country.
National Assembly watchers believe it is more or less a done deal, giving the body language of the present crop of senior lawmakers so far.
With state governments priming to do same, Nigeria’s debt stock could rise to N100 trillion in a matter of months, if not year’s end.
Tinubu’s request was contained in a letter read at the plenary on Tuesday by Senate President Godswill Akpabio.
He ascribed his request to the former President Muhammadu Buhari’s 2022-2024 external borrowing plan approved by former President Muhammadu Buhari’s administration.
The reference to Buhari, whose administration and those of governord in the states chalked up Nigeria’s debt portfolio to an unprecedented N87 trillion, is seen as a tacit way of shifting blame for loans to an administration that closed its shop six months ago.
The letter reads, “I write in respect of the above subject and to submit the attached the federal government 2022-2024 external borrowing plan for consideration and early approval of the National Assembly to ensure prompt implementation of the projects.
“The Senate may wish to note that the past administration approved a 2022-2024 borrowing plan by the federal executive council (FEC) held on May 15, 2023.
“The projects cut across all sectors, with specific emphasis on infrastructure, agriculture, health, water supply, roads, security, and employment generation as well as financial management reforms.
“Consequently, the required approval is in the sum of $8,699,168,559 and €100 million.
“I would like to underscore the fact that the projects and programmes in the borrowing plan were selected based on economic evaluations as well as the expected contribution to the social economic development of the country, including employment generation, and skills acquisition.
“Given the nature of these facilities, and the need to return the country to normalcy, it has become necessary for the Senate to consider and approve the 2022- 2024 external abridged borrowing plan to enable the government deliver its responsibility to Nigerians.”