After much ado, the Senate finally approved the request by President Muhammadu Buhari to restructure the N22.7 trillion loans the Central Bank of Nigeria, CBN, extended to the federal government under its Ways and Means provision.
The Ways and Means provision allows the government to borrow from the apex bank if it needs short-term or emergency finance to fund delayed government expected cash receipts of fiscal deficits.
Last year, the Senate rejected Buhari’s request to approve the N22.7 trillion Ways and Means advance on the ground that it lacked details.
Buhari responded that if the request is not approved, the federal government would add N1.8 trillion in interest in 2023.
Meanwhile, the action of the Red Chamber stalled the request till Wednesday following its special committee’s recommendation to review the presidential request.
Also, the Senate okayed an additional N180.4 billion being the balance of the supplementary budget and the interest accrued on the Ways and Means advances.
The committee chairman, Senator Ibrahim Gobir, told his colleagues that the N22.7 trillion advances were made to ensure the government does not shut down due to revenue shortfalls.
He said the federal government’s monies were used for funding critical projects across the country.
In February, it was reported that the House of Representatives partly approved the N22.7 trillion Ways and Means advance.
Nigeria’s total debt stock is N44.6 trillion, according to the Debt Management Office Third Quarter of 2022 data released in December.
Economic experts have raised concerns over the country’s rising debt profile.