Nigeria's Buhari Refuses to Sign $1 Billion Bill for Steel Plant

(Bloomberg) -- Nigerian President Muhammadu Buhari declined to approve a proposed $1 billion fund for a moribund steel plant, saying it “is not the best strategic option for the nation.”

Lawmakers in June last year sought to fund expenditure for Ajaokuta Steel Co. from oil savings, known as the Excess Crude Account, to enable the state to retain ownership. Buhari plans to sell the plant.

“The nation cannot afford to commit such an amount in the midst of competing priorities” and budgetary constraints, Buhari said in a March 19 letter to lawmakers that was read in parliament Tuesday.

Buhari, who secured a second four-year term in February, said any proposed funding for the steel plant should be sought via the national budget.

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