Senate endorses $266 million loan for Niger

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By Brendan Umoren

The Senate on Tuesday approved $266 million contained in the 2016-2018 external borrowing plan of the Federal Government for Niger State Development Policy Operation (DPO).

The approval followed the recommendation of the Senate Committee on Local and Foreign Debts.

Chairman of the committee, Senator Shehu Sani, who presented the report, said the fund for DPO from the World Bank is proposed to finance key programmes of the government of Niger State.

He said the aim was to stimulate internally generated revenue and develop critical infrastructure that will attract private investors to the state to increase employment opportunities to residents and citizens.

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Sani explained: “The World Bank Development Policy Operation (DPO) is a budget-support facility to finance budget gaps that governments often encounter in implementing their annual budgets.”

The Senate had on July 27, 2017 and November 9, 2017 mandated the committee to consider the Niger State DPO as contained in the 2016-2018 approved external borrowing plan, following its approval of the loans’ request for a total of seven states.

The committee noted in its findings and observations that the credit facility has an attractive low financing data of 1.25 percent interest; moratorium of five years and a 25 years maturity tenor.

It added: “According to the latest Department Management Office figures, Niger state has a total debt stock of $232.1 million.”

The Sani committee said: “Approving the current loan request of $266 million for Niger State will bring its total debt stock to $498.1 million.”

The Upper Chamber approved N243, 374 billion budget for the Federal Capital Territory Administration (FCT) for the 2019 fiscal year.

Out of the amount, N55,043,425,247 is for personnel costs while N57,610,188,661is for overhead cost.

The balance of N130,720,897,169.00 is for capital projects.

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