Nigerian Lawmakers Seek to Cut Loans to $7.3 Billion

Nigeria’s House of Representatives moved to trim government borrowing in the next three years by approving a $7.3 billion external borrowing plan, $2 billion less than proposed.

President Goodluck Jonathan had requested legislative approval for Africa’s top oil producer to borrow $9.2 billion from 2013 to 2015 in a Nov. 5 letter to the Parliament. The lower house of Parliament yesterday approved the recommendation of its committee on loans, aids and debt management to cut the amount by $2 billion, Deputy Speaker Emeka Ihedioha said in a transcript of yesterday’s proceedings released to reporters. The loans, to be used to fund infrastructure and agriculture, must also be approved by the Senate .

Lenders including the World Bank, the Islamic Development Bank and the African Development Bank will provide the loans that will be on concessionary terms with interest charged at 3 percent or below, according to the Finance Ministry.

Lawmakers also approved an oil benchmark price of $79 a barrel for the 2013 budget of Africa’s top crude producer. Jonathan proposed a budget of 4.92 trillion naira ($31 billion) for next year, 4.7 percent more than the current year’s, based on a crude oil benchmark price of $75 a barrel.

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