….Adeosun, Udoma, DMO meet to draft details of the loan
The senate has explained why it rejected President Muhammadu Buhari’s request to take external loan of $29.960 billion (about N9.12 trillion) for the execution of key infrastructural projects across the country between 2016 and 2018.
It would be recalled that the request for legislative approval for the borrowing plan was rejected during Tuesday’s plenary after the Senate Majority Leader, Senator Ali Ndume, moved the motion that the request be subjected to a debate, and the President of the Senate, Dr. Bukola Saraki, put the motion to a voice vote twice.
Ndume said while addressing the media that the lawmakers threw out the request on “technical” grounds, adding that the senate was not furnished with the necessary details contrary to what the President said in his letter.
“The borrowing plan was technically rejected. You could see that I was shocked as the leader, because I am the chief marketer. They rejected the product and I am thinking of trying to sell it again and rebrand it.
“Honestly, I think the problem came on a technical ground. It (the proposal) was supposed to go to committee level and the committee was supposed to take a look at it. I am going to appeal to my colleagues to take a look at it again and see how we can bring it back, because one doesn’t throw away the baby with the bath water.
“One of the technical things that was missing there is that, even if you read the letter, it said ‘attached is a draft’ but there was no attachment. These are the kinds of lapses we are trying to look at,” he said.
He added that the lawmakers were not comfortable with the absence of the breakdown of the borrowing plan.
Reacting to the development, the senior special assistant to the president on national assembly matters (senate), Senator Ita Enang said the senate’s decision should be respected.
“We are not disputing with the distinguished Senate. There are certain information and details, which will enable them to consider in detail and appropriately the request of Mr. President as contained in the plan.
“So, we are collating that information; the Budget Office of the Federation, the Debt Management Office (DMO), the minister of budget and national planning, the minister of finance and the economic management team are collating the information so that it can be submitted to the Senate to enable the lawmakers make the appropriate decision.
“We will be engaging the Senate. We will not be disputing with them, but we will be engaging with them. When we present a matter before the legislature, it is for them to consider; and as they have considered, more information is needed and that information they are entitled to, and we will provide,” said the presidential aide.
Meanwhile, it was gathered that the minister of finance, Mrs. Kemi Adeosun, the minister of budget and national planning, Senator Udo Udoma and the director general of DMO Dr. Abraham Nwankwo, said had begun working on the details of the loan with a view to going back to the legislators with a more detailed document.
It would be recalled that Buhari had stated in the letter to the senate that the money would be spent on infrastructure in agriculture, health, education, water supply, growth and employment generation, and poverty reduction through social safety net programmes, among others.
ADDITIONAL SOURCES: PUNCH, THE GUARDIAN