Nigeria’s Buhari asks lawmakers to approve $5.5 bln in foreign loans

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    LAGOS – Nigeria’s President Muhammadu Buhari has sought approval from lawmakers in the upper chamber of parliament for $5.5 billion of foreign borrowing, according to a letter read in the Senate on Tuesday.

    Africa’s biggest economy grew in the second quarter, climbing out of its first recession in 25 years as oil revenues rose, but the pace of growth was slow, suggesting the recovery remains fragile.

    Nigeria expects a shortfall of $7.5 billion in its record 7.44 trillion naira ($24.33 billion) 2017 budget, which it plans to offset with foreign loans.

    The letter requesting approval from lawmakers for offshore borrowing was read out on the floor of the upper house by Bukola Saraki, president of the upper chamber, the Senate said on its official Twitter feed.

    Africa’s most populous country plans to issue at least a $2.5 billion Eurobond this year, the head of the Debt Management Office (DMO) said last week.

    And in August the finance minister announced plans to refinance $3 billion worth of treasury bills denominated in the local currency with dollar borrowing to lower costs and improve the country’s debt position.

    ($1 = 305.8000 naira)

    Editing by John Stonestreet

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