President Muhammadu Buhari has lamented what he considers as meagre earnings Nigeria is deriving from oil. Buhari who spoke while receiving in farewell audience the Cuban Ambassador to Nigeria, Carlos Trejo Sosa, at the State House, Abuja, noted: “We have deficit in infrastructure, in education, health care, and many other areas. But Cuba has always been helpful. What we earn from oil does not meet our needs, and we can use any assistance we get.”
The president also re-submitted a request to the Senate seeking approval for a $29.96 billion loan. In a letter read on the floor by Senate President Ahmad Lawan at the commencement of plenary, Buhari hinged the renewal of the request on the rejection of the same by the last Senate.
He stated that an approval of his request would ensure the prompt implementation of projects under the borrowing plan with special emphasis on infrastructure, agriculture, health, education, water supply, growth and employment generation, poverty reduction through social safety net programmes, governance and financial management reforms among others.
In November 2018, the Senate had unanimously thrown out Buhari’s request for the loan, saying the letter conveying it was not accompanied by a borrowing plan.
“I hereby request the resolution of the Senate to approve the Federal Government’s 2016-2018 external borrowing plan as well as relevant projects under this plan. Specifically, the Senate is invited to note that while I had sent the 2016-2018 external borrowing plan to the 8th National Assembly in September 2016, this plan was not approved in its entirety by the legislature.
“Only the Federal Government’s emergency project for the northeast, four states’ projects, and one China Exim bank assisted railway modernisation project for the Lagos – Ibadan segment were approved out of a total of 39 projects,” the letter said.
It further explained: “The outstanding projects that were not approved by the legislature nevertheless are critical to the delivery of the government policies and programme relating to power, mining, roads, agriculture, health, water and the educational sector.”