Nigeria senate approves govt's $2.7 billion loan requests

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Nigerian President Muhammadu Buhari. (Pius Utomi Ekpei, AFP)
Nigerian President Muhammadu Buhari. (Pius Utomi Ekpei, AFP)

Nigeria's senate has approved President Muhammadu Buhari's plan to borrow $2.7 billion from international institutions for infrastructure projects to help an economy hammered by an oil slump and the Covid-19 pandemic.

The lawmakers on Wednesday said in a report they approved external borrowing for $1.5 billion and €995 million from the World Bank, the Export-Import Bank of Brazil and Deutsche Bank.

Africa's biggest economy has recently witnessed fragile growth mainly due to low crude prices. The continent's top oil producer relies on crude sales for 90% of foreign exchange earnings.

Finance minister Zainab Ahmed has said the government would need to pursue foreign loans to effectively finance critical infrastructure.

In March 2020, lawmakers also approved foreign borrowing worth $22.7 billion requested by Buhari's government. Of that $17 billion was to be provided by the Exim Bank of China.

Nigeria has been borrowing abroad to fund projects after a 2016 recession caused by low global oil prices affected government's spending plans.

The West African country again slipped into a recession in late 2020 after its gross domestic product contracted for the second consecutive quarter, but unexpectedly emerged from the slump in February 2021.


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