Buhari urges NASS to reconsider restructuring N22.7tn loan

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The President, Major General Muhammadu Buhari (retd.), on Tuesday morning urged the National Assembly to reconsider his proposal to securitise the Federal Government’s outstanding Ways and Means balance at the Central Bank of Nigeria.

Failure to grant the securitisation approval, he warned, would cost the government about N1.8tn in additional interest in 2023 and a 40-year repayment period on the securitised debt.

Buhari’s appeal comes barely one week after the Senate rejected his request to restructure the N22.7tn Ways and Means advances.

The President made the appeal when he signed into law the 2023 Budget of N21.83tn along with the 2022 Supplementary Appropriation Bill.

It is the eighth and final budget of his regime.

Buhari signed the 2023 transition budget at the Council Chambers of the Presidential Villa, Abuja, in the presence of Vice President Yemi Osinbajo, Senate President Ahmed Lawan, Speaker of the House of Representatives, Femi Gbajabiamila and other members of the Federal Executive Council.

While urging the legislature to reconsider its position on his proposal, Buhari made it clear that he had no intention to circumvent the NASS’ powers to interrogate the process.

”As I stated, the balance has accumulated over several years and represents funding provided by the CBN as lender of last resort to the government to enable it to meet obligations to lenders, as well as cover budgetary shortfalls in projected revenues and/or borrowings.

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”I have no intention to fetter the right of the National Assembly to interrogate the composition of this balance, which can still be done even after granting the requested approval.

”Failure to grant the securitisation approval will however cost the government about N1.8 trillion in additional interest in 2023 given the differential between the applicable interest rates which is currently MPR plus 3% and the negotiated interest rate of 9% and a 40-year repayment period on the securitised debt of the Ways and Means,” said the President.

He thanked the National Assembly for approving his request for an extension of its validity date to March 31, 2023.

The President also directed the Ministry of Finance, Budget and National Planning to work towards early release of the 2023 capital votes to enable ministries, departments and agencies commence the implementation of their capital projects in good time to support efforts to deliver key projects and public services as well as improve the living conditions of Nigerians.

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