Senate denies approving fresh N850bn loan for Buhari

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The Nigerian Senate has denied approving a fresh N850billion loan for President Muhammadu Buhari during plenary on Tuesday.

The red chamber in a statement by its Chairman, Senate Committee on Media and Public Affairs, Senator Ajibola Basiru, said what the upper legislative chamber did when it reconvened for the special plenary was to pass a resolution for the change of source for the loan which it previously approved.

The Senate said the decision is at the instance of the president who cited Coronavirus disease and the dwindling oil price.

Mr Basiru said the Senate had already approved the said loan to be initially sourced from external sources but the president wrote the chamber saying he now prefers it being sources for the domestic capital market.

“It is very important to make a very important clarification particularly as the widely circulated erroneous report that the Senate approved a fresh loan of N850 billion at the Plenary on Tuesday,” the statement read.

“That is far from the truth. The resolution passed was an amendment of the earlier resolution as to the source of the initial N850bn loan that had been approved to be part of what should be used to fund the 2020 Appropriation Act.

“You will recall that the Senate had actually approved the loan of N850 billion but to be sourced from external sources.

“However, because of the covid-19 pandemic and of the challenge in the international oil market with the attendant challenges of raising the approved loan externally, the President requested that the approved loan should rather be raised through the Domestic Capital Market.

“It was the above request as to sourcing the earlier approved external borrowing of N850bn from Domestic Capital Market that was approved by the Senate,” the red chamber said.

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