Tuesday, January 18

Senate rejects Buhari’s fresh $700 million loan request

The Nigeria Senate has rejected President Muhammadu  Buhari’s Seven Hundred Million USD ($700 Million) loan request.

The Senate Committee on Local and Foreign Debt turned down the loan request which was said to be for Sustainable Urban and Rural Water Supply, Sanitation and Hygiene (SURWASH) under the Ministry of Water Resources.

This development came barely 24 hours after the Ministry of Health appeared before the panel to seek approval for Two Hundred Million USD ($200 million) to procure mosquito nets and malaria medicines.

The committee members took turns to fault the request, and asked the ministry to furnish panel with other loans previously collected and projects they were tied to.

Chairman of the committee Senator Clifford Ordia, recalled that the Senate had previously approved three different loans for various water projects.

Ordia noted that “$450 million for the ministry for water project being financed by the African Development Bank (AfDB) and another $6 million loan under integrated programme for development also financed by the AfDB and Gurara Water Project.

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“You need to tell us what you are doing with $700 million for water projects.” The panel, therefore, resolved to summon the minister, Adamu Suleiman, to offer explanation on previous loans and how they were deployed.

The Permanent Secretary in the ministry, Mrs. Esther Didi Walson-Jack, could not offer convincing explanation on previous loans, she however told the committee that the SURWASH program would last for five years.

Mrs Wilson-Jack said Six Hundred and Forty Million USD  ($640 million) was needed for the project and another Sixty Million USD ($60 million) needed for capacity building.

Senator Obinna Ogba who also made contribution said he was against the offer, arguing that previous credits were unfelt. 

While opposing the fresh loan, Senator Ibrahim Oloriegbe sought to know the criteria for picking benefitting states.

On his part, Senator Sani Musa advised the committee to pick a workable one after a conscientious review. 

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