• Saturday, March 02, 2024
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BusinessDay

Oshiomhole seeks Senate’s consent for N14.7bn World Bank loan

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As deposit money banks in Nigeria continue to publish names of loan defaulters, Edo State Governor Adams Oshiomhole has put machinery in place to obtain a World Bank credit facility of $75 million (N14.7bn).

The amount is part of N44.1 billion ($225m) the World Bank has granted the state as loan.

President Muhammadu Buhari at Tuesday’s plenary contained Oshiomhole’s request in a letter to the Senate.

The letter, read by the Senate president, Bukola Saraki, stated that the loan was the second tranche of a sum of $225 million already approved by the bank, as the last Senate approved the first tranche of $75 million in 2012.

In the letter, the president explained that the fund was for Development Policy Operation (DPO), a project meant to be completed in three tranches in the state.

“The DPO has since been successfully implemented by the state in 2014. Following this success, the bank’s board of executive directors approved the second tranche in April.

“The DPO too was captured in the Federal Government External Borrowing Plan of 2014/2017, which is pending with the National Assembly,’’ he said.

He said that reports from the state indicated that the programme was already yielding results in terms of private sector investment, increased revenue and employment opportunities.

Figures obtained from the website of the Debt Management Office in Abuja on Tuesday showed that the total debt stock of the Federal Government and the 36 states of the federation including the Federal Capital Territory amounted to N12.118 trillion or $63.80 billion as of June 30, 2015.

Debt Management Office also indicated that states and Federal Governments’ External Debt Stock as of December 31, 2014, stood at $9.711 billion, with Edo State having an External Debt Profile of $123.128 million.

The letter, which sought Senate’s approval for the loan was tilted: “Request for Approval to Obtain $75 million credit facilities from the World Bank for Edo State.”

Buhari said the Edo State governor had convinced him that the purpose for the loan had largely been achieved, hence, the need for approval of another tranche.

The letter reads in part: “I am writing to seek the consideration from the National Assembly an approval for the request from Edo State Government to obtain a 75 million dollar credit facility from the World Bank.

“You may wish to know that the World Bank had approved a development policy program for the total sum of 225 million dollars to Edo State Government 2012 to be implemented in three tranches of 75 million per annum.

“The first tranche was approved by the National Assembly in the 2012/2014 federal government external ruling borrowing plan.”

BusinessDay gathered that this request was one of the issues that led to the disagreement between former finance minister, Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala.

Recall that Oshiomhole had been in the news in recent times, accusing Okonjo-Iweala of releasing so many financial misdeeds including releasing $1 billion government funds for former president, Goodluck Jonathan’s re-election.