Nigeria suspends $22.7 billion borrowing plan over global uncertainty

By ANA Reporter Time of article published Mar 17, 2020

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JOHANNESBURG - Nigeria's government has suspended its $22.7 billion external borrowing plan, citing an uncertain global economic landscape due to Covid-19, the Premium Times publication reported.

It said finance, budget and national planning minister Zainab Ahmed announced the decision during a conference in Abuja on Monday organised by the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC).

She said the government was no longer keen to proceed with the borrowing plan as the deadly coronavirus outbreak had completely unsettled the world economy, with the price of crude oil plunging.

"The current market indices do not support any external borrowings at the moment, despite that the parliament is still doing its work on the borrowing plan." Ahmed reportedly said.

The government would prioritize its expenditure in favour of major capital expenditures that would have a greater impact on job creation and enhance the ease of doing business in Nigeria, she added.

Premium Times also quoted vice president Yemi Osinbajo as saying the government was taking steps to develop Nigeria's commodities market and diversity the economy.

“This need is further underscored by the recent drop in the global price of crude oil, which also constitutes a major threat to achieving the planned government expenditure,” he said.

He added that there were other initiatives towards mapping, quantifying and efficiently exploring the nation’s solid minerals deposits. 

SEC acting director-general Mary Uduk told the conference that Nigeria was well endowed with agricultural, metal and energy commodities whose potentials were not yet realised.

"If we can develop and institutionalise a vibrant commodities trading ecosystem in Nigeria, we can substantially address problems of lack of storage, poor pricing, non-standardization, and low foreign exchange earnings affecting the country’s agriculture and other commodities sub-sectors,” Premium Times quoted her as saying.

- African News Agency (ANA)

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