Dele Ogbodo in Abuja
President Goodluck Jonathan tuesday requested the approval of the Senate for Nigeria to take a $1.6 billion loan to finance a water supply project in Rivers State and for the execution of housing projects across the country.
The loan, he said, will be financed by the African Development Bank (ADB).
Senate President David Mark, while briefing senators on the president’s request, stated that the initiative would necessitate an amendment to the 2012-2014 Medium-term External Borrowing Plan.
The president, a few weeks ago, had sought the legislature’s approval for a $7.9 billion loan under the 2012-2014 External Borrowing Plan.
But the new request is not expected to increase external borrowing during the period as the president indicated that part of the new loan amount “will be swapped with the proposed guarantees for the power sector in the draft borrowing plan”.
The request is seeking the inclusion of $200 million to finance a water supply project for Rivers State and another $300 million for a low-income housing scheme, which will be financed by the World Bank to provide affordable housing for Nigerians.
“We would like to swap this new $300 million facility with the proposed guarantees for the power sector in the draft borrowing plan, thereby ensuring that we do not increase the overall size of loans proposed in the external borrowing plan.
“We would like to bring to your attention the fact that we need to issue a $1 billion Euro Bond in continuance of the programme initiated under the administration of the late President Umaru Musa Yar'Adua as well as a $100 million Diaspora Bond,” the president said in the letter to the Senate.
The senate president also cautioned rumour peddlers bent on drawing the battle line between himself and the president over the 2015 election.
In a statement by his Special Adviser, Media and Publicity, Mr. Kola Ologbodiyan, the senate president cautioned against what he described as attempts by mischief makers and peddlers of rumours who were bent on causing disharmony between himself and the president over the 2015 poll.
Ologbodiyan said: “Our attention has been drawn to the actions of some mischief makers who are bent on causing disaffection between President Goodluck Jonathan and the President of the Senate, Senator David Mark.”
According to him, the trademark of this group is to consistently announce the presidential ambition or interest on behalf of the President of the Senate.
He said the senate president was focused on providing qualitative legislative leadership for the country and urged mischief makers not to distract him.