Abuja — Nigeria’s lower house of parliament has approved President Muhammadu Buhari’s request to borrow an extra $2.2 billion in temporary advances from the country’s central bank to help plug gaps in last year’s budget, lawmakers said on Tuesday.
Buhari asked parliament in December for approval to borrow an extra 1 trillion naira in so called ‘ways and means’ advances from the central bank, taking the government’s total borrowing to 23.7 trillion naira ($52 billion).
The president also requested approvals to convert the temporary advance into 40-year bonds at 9% interest to cut interest payments, but lawmakers questioned the plan.
The lawmakers said on Tuesday that they would discuss with officials on the plan to turn the central bank borrowings to government into long-term debt.
Lawmakers at the upper house of parliament, who are currently on recess to campaign for elections due in March, will need to approve the borrowing plan for it to become law.
Buhari has said the country will pay 1.8 trillion naira ($4 billion) in extra interest in 2023 if parliament rejects the loan-to-bond swap.
($1 = 460.02 naira)
*Camillus Eboh; Chijioke Ohuocha; Editing: James Macharia Chege & Jonathan Oatis – Reuters
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