Senate assents to FG’s $2.79bn Eurobond issue

Senate assents to FG's $2.79bn Eurobond issue

The Senate on Wednesday approved the Federal Government’s request to issue a $2.786 billion Eurobond on international debt markets.

The lawmakers urged the Federal Government to limit foreign borrowing to avoid a debt overhang and boost revenues.

Nigeria, which emerged from recession last year, approved a three-year plan in 2016 to borrow more from abroad. It wants 40 percent of its loans to come from offshore, to lower costs and also help to fund its record-high budgets.

The upper chamber said the new bond will see foreign borrowing rise to 32 percent of Nigeria’s total debt mix, from 30 percent by June 2018.

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Last week, President Muhammadu Buhari asked lawmakers to approve the issue, which is meant to partly fund the 2018 budget.

Buhari, who will seek a second term in a presidential election to be held in February, signed a record N9.12 trillion budget for 2018 into law in June as part of an attempt to foster growth in one of Africa’s biggest economies.

The Senate said, “The Senate do approve the issuance of the above but advise that the Federal Government should do everything possible to reduce or limit its request for more external borrowing and source for other means of generating revenue internally.”

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“This is to avoid a cleverly managed re-conquest of our country through a debt overhang.”

Lawmakers also approved the issuance of $82.54 million to refinance the balance of a $500 million matured Eurobond.