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Senate approves Buhari’s $16.2bn, €1.02bn loan request

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President Muhammad Buhari
President Muhammad Buhari
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The Senate has approved President Muhammadu Buhari’s loan request for the sum of $16,230,077,718 (USD) billion, €1,020,000,000 billion (Euros), under the 2018-2020 External Borrowing plan.

Also approved was a grant component of $125 million (USD), and the request to the Bank of Industries for the issuance of €500 million (Euros) but no more than €750 million Eurobond in the International Capital Market.

The chamber’s approval to the loan requests was, however, accompanied by a resolution that the terms and conditions of the loan from the funding agencies, be forwarded to the National Assembly prior to its execution for approval and proper documentation.

The approval followed the consideration of a report by the Committee on Local and Foreign Debt on the proposed 2018-2020 External Borrowing (Rolling) Plan.

Chairman of the Committee, Senator Clifford Ordia (PDP, Edo Central), in his presentation, said President Buhari’s request was in compliance with the provisions of the Debt Management Office (Establishment) Act 2003 and the Fiscal Responsibility Act 2007.

According to the lawmaker, the provisions of the statutes enjoins the President to seek and obtain the approval of the National Assembly in respect of the External Borrowing Programme of the Federation and States.

He explained that out of the total amount approved by the National Assembly, the sum of $3,529,300,000 billion would be sourced from the World Bank; $5,078,441,252 billion from China EximBank; $3,902,267,260 billion from Industrial & Commercial Bank of China; $2,893,693,930 billion from China Development Bank; and $698,500,000 billion from the Africa Development Bank (AfDB).

In addition, he stated that €345,000,000 million euros is expected to be sourced from the French Development Agency (AFD); €175,000,000 million euros from the European Investment Bank; $190,255,276 million USD from European ECA/KfW/IPEX/AFC; €500,000,000 euros from the International Capital Market; and $62,120,000 USD from Standard Chartered Bank/SINOCURE.

Senator Ordia explained that the Committee in reaching its resolutions, noted the serious concerns of Nigerians about the level and sustainability of the country’s borrowing in the last decade.

Ordia said Nigeria’s debt figures which continue to increase, reached an all-time high of around 95 percent of retained revenue and 35 percent of its annual expenditure.

He expressed concern that the development constitutes a drain on the nation’s economy and limits resources available for national development.

Underscoring the need for a more proactive approach to revenue enhancement, the lawmaker observed that “there are noticeable improvements in our revenues but the growth is not sufficient or rapid enough to catch up with the pace of  development required for our nation.”

He disclosed that out of the sum of over $22.8 billion approved by the National Assembly under the 2016-2018 External Borrowing Plan, only $2.8 billion – an amount representing ten percent – has been disbursed to Nigeria.

The lawmaker stressed that the projects, which require additional financing, would have great multiplier effect on stimulating economic growth through infrastructure development, job creation, poverty alleviation, healthcare and improve the nation’s security architecture.

He emphasized that tax revenues accruable to Government would increase as a result of the impact of commercial and engineering activities.

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5000 LAGOSIANS GET FREE HEALTH INSURANCE ON SANWO-OLU’S BIRTHDAY

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Lagos State Governor Babajide Sanwo-Olu
Lagos State Governor, Mr. Babajide Sanwo-Olu
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No fewer than 5000 Lagosians are to be enrolled in the Ilera Eko Social Health Plan – courtesy of the Lagos State Executive Council.

The gesture is to celebrate Governor Sanwo-Olu’s 57th birthday on June 25 and in the spirit of his compassion for the indigent and vulnerable.

Beneficiaries will have access to quality health care services and drugs under the ILERA EKO Standard Plan at no cost to them.

Nominees will be selected from the Lagos State Social Protection Register. An equal number of the 5000 eligible beneficiaries are to be selected from the five IBILE divisions of the State and will enjoy Universal Health Coverage.

These beneficiaries have been identified using a multi-dimensional poverty index tool, which includes the poverty means-testing to ensure accuracy, reliability and validity of the data generated.

ILERA EKO is the State Social Health Insurance Plan managed by Lagos State Health Management Agency (LASHMA), which offers the basic minimum health plan that provides quality and affordable healthcare for all Lagos residents, especially the middle and low-income earners as well as the vulnerable.

Services on the Plan include: General consultations; Specialist Consultations; Management of uncomplicated chronic diseases (Diabetes, Hypertension, Asthma); Maternal and Newborn Care; Normal Delivery and Caesarean Section; Dental Care (with Composite filling) and Eye Care, including glasses.

There are also minor and major surgeries; laboratory tests and scans; HIV/TB Testing services; Emergency Health Services; Cancer Care and the provision of prescribed drugs.

A policy cycle under the ILERA EKO Health Insurance Plan runs for 12 calendar months in which an enrolee’s policy is due for renewal before the 25th day of the 12th month to enable such subscribers have access to care the next month (Start of renewed policy cycle).

The selected beneficiaries will commence access to care from July 1, 2022.

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Senator Ike Ekweremadu, Wife remanded as UK Court denies them bail

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Senator Ike Ekweremadu and his wife
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An Uxbridge Magistrates’ Court in the United Kingdom did not grant bail to Ike Ekweremadu, former Deputy Senate President, and Beatrice, his wife, who were apprehended over attempted harvesting of organs.

It was gathered that the Nigerian couple was detained by the Metropolitan Police when they tried harvesting an unnamed child’s organs.

When the Senator was arraigned on Thursday, the court refused to grant him bail but ordered that he should be remanded till July 7

The Metropolitan Police while confirming the arrest said in a statement that the pair were charged to court on Thursday following an investigation by the police’ specialist crime team.

“Beatrice Nwanneka Ekweremadu, 55 (10.9.66) of Nigeria is charged with conspiracy to arrange/facilitate travel of another person with a view to exploitation, namely organ harvesting,” the statement read.

“Ike Ekweremadu, 60 (12.05.62) of Nigeria is charged with conspiracy to arrange/facilitate travel of another person with a view to exploitation, namely organ harvesting.

They have both been remanded in custody and will appear at Uxbridge Magistrates’ Court later today.

“A child has been safeguarded and we are working closely with partners on continued support.”

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Conditional Cash Transfer: Lagos flags off distribution of ATM card, activation pins

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Lagos State Governor Babajide Sanwo-Olu
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Lagos State Government on Thursday flags off distribution of ATM cards and activation pins to beneficiaries in continuation of conditional cash transfer programme.

Speaking at the event which took place at Agege Local Government, Agege, Lagos, Commissioner for Wealth Creation and Employment, Hon.Mrs. Yetunde Arobieke, appreciated the Federal Government through the National Cash Transfer Office(NCTO), under the Office of the Federal Ministry of Humanitarian Affairs, Disaster Management and Social Development (FMHADMSD), who has the mandate to develop humanitarian policies, provide effective co-ordination of national and International Humanitarian interventions, ensure strategic disaster mitigation, preparedness and response and manage the formulation and implementation affair, focused social inclusion and protection program in Nigeria.

She recalled that she was elated that CCT beneficiaries in Lagos State have received the bi-monthly cash stipends from the programme and have been availed with the much needed capacity skills through the Savings and Group Mobilisation (SGM) training, which have been in no small measure of immense benefits to their livelihood, which culminated in the result of the success stories that have been shared across the targeted LGAs /LCDAs.

“It would be recalled that the Federal Government in partnership with the World Bank, established National Social Safety Nets Project (NASSP), have played a pivotal role to help end extreme poverty and promote shared prosperity with a view to ameliorate the lives of the citizenry. The NASSP Project Development Objective (PDO), is to provide access to targeted transfers to poor and vulnerable households under an expanded National Social Safety nets system”, Arobieke said.

She further maintained that the National Cash Transfer Office under NASSP, was given the mandate to implement the Federal Government conditional cash transfer, also known as Household Uplifting Programme.

“The programme since inception has successfully paid beneficiaries via transparent and accountable means that enables the NASSPS programme pay beneficiaries at their doorstep through Payment Service Provisions (PSP)”, Arobieke said.

She also acknowledged the President, Federal Republic of Nigeria, President Muhammadu Buhari and the Governor of Lagos State, Mr Babajide Sanwo-Olu, for being a father of the nation and as well as a proactive governor for putting the programme in place with his audacious vision of lifting 100 million people out of the poverty net in Nigeria .

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