The Senate sounded the alarm on Wednesday over alleged plans by some ministries, departments and agencies (MDAs) to sabotage President Muhammadu Buhari’s loan request to finance the country’s infrastructure.
This, the agency said, follows their failure to defend their components of the 5.01 trillion naira loan, slated to finance the 6.26 trillion naira deficit in the 2022 budget of 16.39 trillion naira. .
To this end, the upper legislative chamber threatened the heads of the relevant agencies with severe penalties if they did not appear before its local and foreign debt committee within a week for the required interface.
The Senate, on July 15, 2021, approved Buhari’s request for an external loan of $ 8,325,526,537 (USD) and € 490,000,000 (euros) as part of the 2018-2020 external borrowing plan. .
And in another request via a letter read on September 14, 2021, Buhari sought Senate approval to borrow an additional $ 4,054,476,863 billion and € 710 million.
The letter said the loan was needed to fund the projects listed in the addendum to the federal government’s 2018-2021 external borrowing plan.
The president told lawmakers that the projects would be funded by sovereign loans from the World Bank, Agence Française de Développement, China Exim Bank, International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD), Credit Swiss Group and Standard Chartered for a total credit amount of 4.5. billion dollars, 710 million euros and grant component of 125 million dollars.
Senate riot law
But the Senate said the MDAs were not helping the Buhari-led administration because they did not come forward to provide further clarification on how the loans were to be used.
Lawan read the riot act after the conclusion of the debate on the general principles of the 2022 budget proposals and going to second reading before further consideration at the committee level.
The relevant agencies, as announced by Senate Speaker Ahmad Ibrahim Lawan, are the Federal Ministries of Petroleum Resources, Energy, Environment, Health, Water Resources and Women’s Affairs, while the only agency is the National Agency for Scientific and Technical Infrastructures (NASENI).
Delivering the summons on behalf of the Senate, Lawan said: “Certain federal government departments, departments and agencies that should have appeared before the Senate Committee on Loans and Foreign Debt to defend the demand for debt by the executive branch of government must do so before the final date. consideration of the budget.
He said: “List of some federal government departments and agencies that should have appeared before the Senate committee on loan and foreign debt, to defend the debt demand by the executive arm of government. These MDAs did not appear. These MDAs did not appear.
“The Senate views this attitude as a sabotage of the federal government’s efforts to secure loans and fund the infrastructure development this country desperately needs.
The National Assembly has already approved the loan requests, but clarification is needed from the agencies concerned.
“So I’ll call the names of these MDAs, and we’re only giving them one week to appear before the Foreign Loans and Debt Committee.” And if they do not show up, we will take the appropriate and swift action because this Senate will not tolerate any sabotage of this administration’s efforts to provide infrastructure. “
Senators call for wise use
Earlier in the plenary during the debate on the budget proposals, many senators who spoke stressed the need to use the 5.01 trillion naira infrastructure loan wisely, as outlined in the proposal.
In their separate submissions, lawmakers also underscored the need for the government to look inward for budget implementation through increased revenue generation, fundraising and remittances by agencies. competent.
After having voted the budget at second reading, the Senate therefore reserved the 18th of this month for November 9th for examination in committee.