Muhammadu Buhari of Nigeria seems to be marking his fifth year as president with loans, loans, and more loans.

Nigeria currently owes more than $100billion (N33trillion) in foreign and local loans.

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During plenary on Thursday, Senate president Ahmed Lawan read a letter from Buhari to lawmakers requesting a fresh $5.513bn external loan to finance the revised 2020 budget.

In the letter, the president said the loan would be used to finance the deficit in the 2020 budget and support critical projects from the state and federal governments.

He said the federal government was also planning to raise money externally and internally.

The external loan is a total of $5.513 billion: $3.4bn will come from the IMF, $1.5 from the World Bank, $500m from African Development Bank (AfDB), and $113m from the Islamic Development Bank (IsDB).

President Buhari noted that the assumptions in the 2020 budget were no longer attainable given the slump in oil prices and lower demand for crude oil caused by the covid-19 pandemic.

He also presented a revised 2020 Appropriation Bill and 2020-2022 Medium Term Expenditure Framework (MTEF) and Fiscal Strategy Paper (FSP) to the Senate.

He asks the Senate to give an expedited passage of the revised 2020 budget and MTEF because of the urgency of the situation.

A rubber-stamp legislature is likely to oblige him. The Senate promptly suspended its rules and commenced the second reading of the revised budget, the MTEF, and the FSP.

The Buhari regime has borrowed more than all previous regimes from 1999 put together, thus returning the country to the status of “a beggar and a debtor nation”.  [The debt profile of the democratic government led by Shehu Shagari in the Second Republic was one of the reasons he and his military colleagues gave for overthrowing it through the coup d’etat of December 31, 1983.]

 In 2005, the country received debt forgiveness ($18bn) from the Paris Club of creditors. Once more, Nigeria is back to a debt trap.

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