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Economy

Electricity: Senate Okays $500m World Bank Loan for Mass Metering

By Adedapo Adesanya

The Senate has approved President Bola Tinubu’s request to obtain a loan of $500 million from the World Bank to finance the mass metering programme of the federal government.

The Deputy Senate President, Mr Barau Jibrin, who presided over the plenary on Wednesday, announced the approval after a majority of the lawmakers supported it through a voice vote.

The loan was considered and approved by the Committee of the Senate on such matters.

The upper chamber approved the fund for the Bureau of Public Enterprises (PBE) after considering a report of its Committee on Local and Foreign Debt, presented by Mr Haruna Manu, its vice chairman.

The $500 million loan is part of the $7.94 billion loan and €100 million which President Tinubu requested permission from the National Assembly to obtain last November.

In December, the Senate approved the request as part of the 2022-2024 external borrowing rolling plan of President Tinubu after it considered a report of the local and foreign debt committee.

Mr Manu, the senator representing Taraba Central Senatorial District, who presented the committee’s report explained that the new approved $500 million ought to have been approved earlier but it was delayed because the officials of the Bureau of Public Enterprises (BPE) did not appear before the committee to defend the request.

The lawmaker stressed that the terms and conditions of the loan will not allow any person to compromise the disbursement.

He also assured that the loan would sustain Nigeria’s economic growth and strengthen the independence of Nigeria as a sovereign nation, recommending the approval of the loan.

“The committee recommends that the Senate do approve the ongoing negotiations of the external borrowing in the sum of $500 million for BPE” and that the details be “forwarded to the National Assembly before execution,” Mr Manu added.

After presenting the report, the deputy senate president put the passage to vote and a majority of the lawmakers supported it.

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