April 27, 2017 / 2:02 PM / 3 months ago

UPDATE 1-Nigeria lawmakers aim to pass 2017 budget next week - Senate leader

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ABUJA, April 27 (Reuters) - Nigeria's upper house of parliament aims to pass the government's 2017 spending plan next week, Senate leader Ahmed Lawan said on Thursday.

Lawan said parliament had wanted to pass the budget in March and April but could not, adding that it was doing everything possible to make up the lost time.

"By next week ... we should be able to finish our own work and pass the budget to Mr. President to sign," he told reporters after a meeting with the president.

President Muhammadu Buhari, who has faced rising disenchantment over his handling of Nigeria's economy, presented his record 7.298 trillion naira ($23.24 billion) budget to lawmakers in December. It must be agreed by lawmakers before the president can sign it into law.

Nigeria is in its second year of recession, brought on by low oil prices, which have slashed government revenues, weakened the naira and caused chronic dollar shortages.

Buhari has asked lawmakers to approve a borrowing plan of $6.93 billion from China and the World Bank to upgrade its rail network and help rebuild the insurgency-torn northeast.

This year's budget lays out plans to pull Africa's largest economy out of recession with a focus on boosting infrastructure spending.

Senator Danjuma Goje, who chairs the senate committee on the spending plan, in March said the budget was likely to pass before May.

$1 = 314.0000 naira Reporting by Felix Onuah; Writing by Chijioke Ohuocha; Editing by Larry King and Pritha Sarkar

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