Senate rejects Buhari’s $29.96billion loan request

Senate rejects Buhari’s $29.96billion loan request

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The Senate on Tuesday rejected President Muhammadu Buhari’s proposal to borrow an external loan to the tune of $29.960 billion proposed by the Federal Government last week.
The upper chamber explained that it was not comfortable with the non-inclusion of the breakdown of the borrowing plan.
Senate Leader, Ali Ndume, who moved a motion that the “Senate do consider the request of the President on the 2016-2018 External Borrowing Rolling Plan” at the beginning of the plenary, informed his colleagues that a huge amount of N80 billion had already been taken out of the N500 billion without any explanation on what the money was spent on.
The motion was seconded by Emmanuel Bwacha of the Peoples Democratic Party from Taraba State.
Ndume said, “The Senate is concerned that the implementation of such a huge programme is now being carried out in the same manner as the other failed social interventions funds like the Subsidy Reinvestment and Empowerment Programme SURE-P, without a proper framework, which led to their failures.”
‎The Senate President who presided over the plenary directed question to his colleagues on whether the Senate should consider the request to vote or not.
The response was overwhelmingly in the negative.
Saraki repeated the question in a second attempt but the rejection became louder. So he ruled in favour of those opposed to it.
Meanwhile, Senate Majority leader, Mohammed Ali Ndume, at a press conference shortly after the Senate session, said the rejection of the President’s request was also due to the failure to attach a comprehensive borrowing plan to the request as indicated in Buhari’s earlier letter.
President Buhari In his letter to the two chambers of the National Assembly to approve the loan request last week said, “I wish to refer to the above subject and to submit the attached draft of the Federal Government 2016-2018 External borrowing (Rolling) plan for consideration and early approval by the National Assembly to ensure prompt implementation of projects.”
However, the Senate said that the President merely sent a letter and failed to attach the draft borrowing plan.
According to another Senator, the request had to be rejected because of its anticipatory nature:
The last paragraph of the letter reads, “It has become inevitable to request for the NASS leadership approval pending the consideration and approval of the 2016-2018 borrowing plan by the National Assembly to enable us disburse these funds immediately.”
Ndume also claimed to be shocked at the action of his colleagues in rejecting the President’s request, stating that he would attempt to lobby Senators with a view to re-introducing the request on the floor of the Senate
The president, in the his letter, had explained that the loan would be targeted at projects cutting across all sectors with special emphasis on infrastructure, agriculture, health, education, water supply, growth and employment generation.
Other sectors, he said, included poverty reduction through social safety net programmes and governance and financial management reforms, among others.
According to him, the cost of the projects and programmes under the borrowing (rolling) plan is $29.960 billion.
This is made up of proposed projects and programmes loan of $11.274 billion, Special National Infrastructure projects $10.686 billion, Euro bonds of $4.5 billion and Federal Government budget support of $3.5 billion.
He explained further that the loan was very necessary in view of the serious infrastructure deficit in the country.

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