Daily Trust (Abuja)

17 July 2014

Nigeria: Jonathan Seeks N160 Billion Foreign Loan to Fight Boko Haram

President Goodluck Jonathan is proposing to borrow $1 billion (about N160 billion) from foreign sources to equip the military to tackle Boko Haram insurgents.

The loan request is coming less than four months after the National Assembly appropriated about N1 trillion for security operations in the 2014 budget.

Since 2011, the Federal Government has allocated not less than N1 trillion in each year for the security sector, all in an effort to tackle the insurgency.

But the security situation deteriorated since then.

In a letter to the Senate and the House of Representatives, dated July 15, presented to lawmakers yesterday, Jonathan said the foreign loan being sought was needed to tackle the ongoing security challenges in the country.

"You are no doubt cognizant of the ongoing and serious security challenges which the nation is facing, as typified by Boko Haram terrorists threat. This is an issue that we have discussed at various times," said Jonathan.

"I will like to bring to your attention the urgent need to upgrade the equipment and logistics of our armed forces and security services to enable them more forcefully confront this serious threat. For this reason, I seek the concurrence of the National Assembly for external borrowing of not more than $1 billion dollars including government to government arrangements for this upgrade."

The President, however, did not disclose the specific source of the loan, interests rate and how many years it will take to repay.

Nigeria exited the Paris Club in 2005 when it paid off $12 billion of its accumulated huge debt while $18 billion was written off.

Ten years later, the Federal and state governments have embarked on massive foreign borrowing thereby increasing the nation's debt profile to about $10 billion.

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