Tuesday, October 25, 2016 6:03 pm
President Muhammadu Buhari has forwarded requests to the National Assembly to approve external borrowing plan of $29.960 billion for execution of key infrastructural projects across the country between 2016 and 2018.
The president also requested for virement of N180.8 billion in the 2016 budget for provision of needed votes for some sectors.
The president made the requests in two separate letters to the Senate President, Dr Bukola Saraki and Speaker of the House of Representatives, Mr Yakubu Dogara which were read on the floor of both chambers on Tuesday.
Buhari, in the external borrowing plan, explained that targeted projects cuts across all sectors with special emphasis on infrastructure , agriculture, health, education , water supply, growth and employment generation.
Other sectors he said included poverty reduction through social safety net programmes and governance and financial management reforms, among others.
According to him, the cost of the projects and programmes under the borrowing (rolling) plan is $29.960billion.
This is made up of proposed projects and programmes loan of $11.274billion, Special National Infrastructure projects $10.686billion, Euro bonds of $4.5 billion and Federal Government budget support of $3.5billion.
He explained further that the loan was very necessary in view of the serious infrastructure deficit in the country.
He said the country had huge infrastructure deficit and enormous financial resources required to fill the gap in the face of dwindling resources.
“This is in addition to the inability of our annual budgetary provisions to bridge the deficit. It has become necessary to resort to prudent external borrowing to bridge the financing gap.
“This will largely be applied to key infrastructure projects namely power, railway and roads among others”, he added.
Buhari in the virement request, said the N180 billion would be moved from monies already appropriated for special Intervention programmes both recurrent and capital for funding of critical recurrent and capital items.
He said the request arose due to shortfalls in provisions for personnel costs; inadequate provision ab initio for amnesty programme; continuing requirements to sustain the war against insurgency; and depreciation of the naira.
The letter reads in part: “In the course of implementing the 2016 Appropriation Act, several MDAs have presented issues pertaining to salary shortfalls, the settlement of part of which has led to the depletion of the Public Service Wage Adjustment.
“This Vote, which had a provision of N33, 597,400,000, now has a balance of N2, 758,296,000.
“The provision for NYSC in the 2016 budget is inadequate to cater for the number of corp members to be mobilised this year.
“In fact, an additional N8.5billion is required to cover the backlog of 129, 469 corps members who are due for call-up but would otherwise be left out till next year due to funding constraints.
“Similarly, the provision for meal subsidy for the Unity Colleges is inadequate for the number of students in the schools.
“Due to the devaluation of the naira, the budgetary provisions for the foreign missions are no longer sufficient to cover all their costs.” (NAN)