27 April 2017, Abuja — Nigerian President Muhammadu Buhari asked lawmakers to approve a plan for the government to borrow $7 billion through 2018 to develop railroads and support an economic recovery.
The Export-Import Bank of China approved several loans for railroad projects, including $3.5 billion to build a line connecting the commercial capital, Lagos, with the southeastern city of Calabar, Speaker of the House of Representatives Yakubu Dogara said Wednesday on his Twitter account, citing a letter from Buhari. The Senate, the upper house of Nigeria’s parliament, on Wednesday said it received a request from Buhari to approve $5.6 billion of loans from China’s Export-Import Bank for railroads.
Dogara said planned debt includes $575 million from the World Bank to help a recovery in northeastern Nigeria, which has been hit by an Islamist-militant insurgency, and $500 million for social-safety net projects.
The request “was referred to the House Committee on Loans, Aid and Debt Management,” he said. “Additional resources in addition to the 2017 budgetary allocation would be required to expand the social safety net program, which commenced in January this year.
The Nigerian economy shrank 1.5 percent in 2016, the first contraction in a quarter century, mainly because of plummeting revenue that resulted from a decline in the price of oil, the West African nation’s biggest export. The government last month announced a plan to help the economy rebound and create 15 million jobs by 2020 by pumping more crude, opening farmlands and increasing infrastructure spending.
*David Malingha Doya – Bloomberg