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Debt burden: Buhari requests fresh N850 billion loan, seven weeks after slashing 2020 budget

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SEVEN weeks after the federal government announced slashing the 2020 budget due to the sharp decline in oil prices, President Muhammadu Buhari has asked the Senate on Tuesday to approve his request to secure another fresh loan of N850 billion.

The loan request is expected to be from the domestic capital market to fund projects in the 2020 budget.

Recall that on March 9, 2020, the federal government announced that it would cut the size of its record 10.6 trillion Naira ($34.6 billion) budget for 2020 due decline in the price of crude.

Capital market is a market where buyers and sellers engage in trade of financial securities like bonds and stock.

The request was made in a letter read by the Senate President, Ahmad Lawan, on Tuesday on the floor of the upper chamber of the National Assembly in Abuja, the Senate gave swift approval to the president’s request to raise the loan.

Minister of Finance, Budget, and National Planning, Zainab Ahmed, is expected to give more details on the loan request which was granted following the senators’ resumption from a recess.

Lawan explained that the decision to go on recess was to help sustain solutions to the health crisis and ensure the crisis does not create more problems for the government and its people.

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Senator Lawan said that “The pandemic has affected the 2020 budget and the National Assembly has a responsibility to work with the Executive to address the problem.”

Also, recall that Nigeria is currently expecting a $3.4 billion in emergency funding loan from the International Monetary Fund (IMF) to cushion the impact of COVID-19 on the nation’s economy.

The facility has been considered to be the largest loan allocation by the monetary fund to an African nation to fight the pandemic, and it is scheduled to be repaid in not more than five years.

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