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FG suspends $23b foreign loan plan

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FEDERAL government has suspended the controversial plan to obtain about $22.7 billion from foreign financial institutions.

  Minister of Finance, Mrs. Zainab Ahmed, disclosed this yesterday in Abuja at the 2020 International Conference on the Nigerian Commodities Market, organised by the Securities and Exchange Commission, (SEC).

  According to her, the external borrowing plan was suspended due to collateral disruptions inflicted by Coronavirus on economies of potential multilateral lender nations.

  Ahmed said government would not go ahead with the borrowing programme even if it secures the approval of the two chambers of the National Assembly.

  This was as the federal government hinted that the coronavirus pandemic has forced it to delay the issuance of its $3.3 billion eurobond as offshore subscribers have jettisoned financial transactions to contain the dreaded virus.

  The Minister said, “the decision to delay the issuance of the bond was based on the conviction that the global economy was going through challenging times due to the outbreak of the coronavirus pandemic”.

  Stating that the delay was totally inevitable, regardless of whether the request was approved by the National Assembly, Ahmed explained that the decision of the government to suspend the borrowing plan was due to the fact that market indices do not support external borrowing at the moment.

  It will be recalled that President Muhammadu Buhari had earlier met with Speaker, House of Representatives, Femi Gbajabiamila, yesterday, over the exclusion of South-East zone in projects earmarked for the N22.7 billion loan.

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