Fed Govt okays three-year external borrowing plan

The Minister of Finance, Kemi Adeosun, yesterday announced the approval of a three-year external borrowing plan.

She spoke with reporters at the end of the Federal Executive Council (FEC) meeting presided over by President Muhammadu Buhari.

With Mrs Adeosun at the briefing were Ministers of Agriculture Audu Ogbeh; Mines and Steel Development Kayode Fayemi; Information, Lai Mohammed and Education Adamu Adamu.

According to her, the FEC yesterday approved external three-year rolling borrowing plan.

The plan, she said, will be transmitted to the National Assembly for approval.

She said: “Recall when we came in we said our external borrowings strategy will be focused on confessional debts, low cost loans particularly from the multi-lateral agencies.”

The conditions of the borrowing, she said, included concessional loans average interest rates of 1.25 per cent, four to seven year moratorium, and 20 years to pay.

According to her, the loans will come from agencies such as the World Bank, African Development Bank (AfDB), China Exim Bank, and other development agencies such as Japanese International Cooperation Agency (JICA)

She added: “The sectors in particular that these concessional loans will go to are the strategic sectors of the economy that will help to revive the economy. There is power. Significant amount of money are located to power projects particularly transmission. This is long term money that will enable us solve some of the problems in that sector.

“There are projects around polio. There are some money that have been allocated to us to help us do some massive immunisation, in order to control this recent outbreak. This is being provided by the World Bank.

“There is provision for solid minerals and of course I’m very excited about the discovery of nickel. World Bank is supporting the project by the Ministry of Mines and Steel with $150 million to enable them strengthen their capacity in that area.

“The largest beneficiary of our borrowing is agriculture because its equally strategic and we have programmes by the minister some of which he inherited and is going to restructure and reform and some are new to the ministry.

“The balance will come from the Eurobond we had indicated.”

According to her, the FEC sent a strong signal on the need to reach out to the National Assembly to get the borrowing plan approved as soon as possible.

“Because a lot of this money is for developmental projects. We need this money to be made available for us. Remember these are foreign exchange coming to our country that will help our economy,” he said.

Fayemi said the Council approved a new roadmap for mining to boost the growth and development of the industry.

He said: “What the roapmap seeks to do is to grow the contribution of minning to the GDP on the back of the President’s vision to diversify the economy.  It is to build on the old roadmap of 2012.

“What distinguishes this roadmap is its determination to build a regulatory agency – an independent regulatory agency in the minning sector. Stakeholders have been insisting that the ministry should not also be the regulator of the industry.

“We will now have Mining cadastral zonal offices which issues the licenses together with the mining inspecting directorate, mining environment compliance unit as well as the nautical mining units. These are directorate within the ministry but will form part of the independent regulatory agency.

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