The federal government has sought the approval of the national assembly for a $1.2 billion agricultural financing loan.
Zainab Ahmed, minister of finance, budget and national planning, made the request on Tuesday when she appeared before the house committee on finance to defend the ministry’s budget.
Nigeria’s total public debt stock, which comprises that of the three tiers of government, stood at N31.009 trillion at the end of June 2020.
Ahmed said the loan would be taken from the Brazilian government to provide funds for mechanised farming.
“For borrowing to improve industry, I request for the approval for loan that we call the green imperative programme which is for loan of $1.2bn from the Brazilian government,” she said.
“It is a programme that is addressing the whole of agricultural value chain from mechanisation, production, processing and selling. It is meant to lend to businessmen for tractors, plants at all levels.”
‘MAMBILLA POWER PROJECT NOT IN 2021 BUDGET’
The minister added that the Mambilla hydropower project, projected to be a 3,050-megawatt facility, was not included in the 2021 proposed budget.
The 3,050-megawatt project estimated at $5.8 billion is the biggest plant in the country but has been stalled for many years owing to legal and funding crises.
In March, the federal government agreed to pay $200 million to Sunrise Power and Transmission Company Limited (SPTCL) as final settlement of the dispute over the Mambilla project.
Ahmed, however, told the house committee that the ministry of power did not include it in its budget proposal submitted to the finance ministry.
“The ministry of finance, budget and national planning, based on the MTEF that you have passed, put in the cost cycle, the budget ceiling for every ministry,” she said.
“They are now expected to make their budget within that ceiling. The ministry of power didn’t have Mambilla in their submission.
“We do not provide programmes that go into budget for ministries, departments and agencies.”