President Muhammadu Buhari has written 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.
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, the president also requested for virement of N180.8 billion in the 2016 budget for provision of needed votes for some sectors.
Buhari, in the letters, said that the projects and programmes to be executed with the borrowed funds cut across all sectors and were selected based on positive technical economic evaluations as well as the contribution they would make to the socio-economic development of the country.
The president 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.
He said that the $29.96billion to be borrowed is made up of proposed projects and programmers loan of $11.274billion, special national infrastructure projects ($10.686billion), Euro bonds of $4.5billion and federal government budget support of $3.5billion.
“Considering the huge infrastructure deficit currently being experienced in the country and the enormous financial resources required for o fill the gap in the face of dwindling resources and the inability of our annual budgetary provisions to bridge the infrastructural deficit, it has become necessary for o resort to prudent external borrowing to bridge the financing gap which will largely be applied to key infrastructural projects namely: power, railway and road projects among others”, the president stated.
In the virement request, Buhari 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 for virement arose due to a number of reasons, including shortfalls in provisions for personnel costs; inadequate provision ab initio for some items like the amnesty programme; continuing requirements to sustain the war against insurgency and depreciation of the naira.
“However, considering the fact that budgeted revenues are running behind target largely due to the renewed violence in the Niger Delta, and there are no supplementary revenue sources, the most viable option for now is the virement of appropriated funds from heads or sub-heads that may not be fully utilized before the end of this fiscal year”, Buhari added.