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The Senate yesterday (Thursday) approved the sum of $22.79 loan
request for president Buhari amidst protest

The protest indeed came from an opposition party, the people’s
Democratic Party led by its minority leader, Enyinnaya Abaribe.

Clifford ordia, the senate committee chairman on local Government
and foreign Loans who laid the report was about to read the executive summary
when the bubble burst.


The coast was then clear for Ordia to present the executive summary of his report
but his conclusion generated another heated argument among senators.

The
senators faulted the two-item recommendation proposed by the Ordia-led panel
without furnishing them with details of the projects, the beneficiaries and the
amount allocated to each of them.

Lawan,
however, disagreed with them, stressing that by the Senate rules, the report
should not be subjected to the line by line consideration.

He
said, “We are not doing a second reading on this. We have recommendations which
we will vote on but before we reach that stage, what is here is what is to
finance our capital budget.

“It is
important we are conscious that we need the capital aspect of the budget
funding.”

But
Abaribe faulted the position of the Senate President.

He
said, “The position is that we would now approve some of this. It is when we
get to the point of looking at each one of them that we will now determine
which of these projects will help in growing our economy. Now that you have
said we will take it line by line.”

But
Lawan said, “Let me make this point very clear. This is a request and what I
said is, this is to fund our capital budget. It means the capital budget is
weighty.

“Until
we pass it, there will be no implementation of the capital budget. So it is a
choice.

“If we
want, we pass, if don’t want, we don’t pass. We are going to make it tight
spending this money.”

“We are
going to pass a loan approval of $22.7bn and we, who are going to pay back that
are making efforts to make sure this is clarified and Mr President, you are
not giving us the privilege to make our points known and come across. We don’t
see anything that is so difficult for us.”

The situation became tensed afterwards and the Senate Leader, Yahaya
Abdullahi saved the day by calling for a closed session, a suggestion
earlier made by Senator Gabriel Suswan but overruled by Lawan.

The
Senators, however, approved the loan request when they emerged from the
45-minute closed session.

World
Bank ($ 2 854,000,000), African Development Bank ($1,888,950,000), Islamic
Development Bank ($110,000,000), Japan International Cooperation Agency (
$200,000,000 ), German Development Bank ($200,000,000), China-Exim Bank (
$17.065.496.773), and the French Development Agency ($480,000,000)

Some of
the projects to be funded with the loans include the Nigeria Electricity
Transmission and Access Project ($364,000,000) and Social Inclusion and Welfare
Advancement Project, renamed National Social Safety Net Project, ($500,000).

It also
included the Economic Reforms and Governance Project all (renamed Fiscal Governance
Project ($200,000,000).

Others
include development of the Mining Industry ($150,000,000), Education Sector
Reform Programme (renamed Better Education Service Delivery for All (BESDA)
($500,000,000).

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