Nigeria’s Senate President, Ahmad Lawan, has accused six ministries and an agency of sabotaging the federal government’s effort to secure loans.

The ministries are power, water resources, health and women affairs.

Others are ministries of environment, petroleum resources and the National Agency for Science and Engineering Infrastructure (NASENI).

Mr Lawan said the affected MDAs failed to appear before the Senate Committee on Loan and Foreign Debts to defend the loan request by the executive arm of government.

Although he said the loan in question has already been approved by the Senate, the MDAs are still to appear before the panel for clarification.

“…These MDAs failed to appear. The Senate considers this attitude as a sabotage to the effort of the federal government to secure the loans and fund the infrastructure development that this country desperately needs.

“Because already, the National Assembly has approved the loan requests but there is need for clarification.

“We are giving them just one week to appear before the committee on loan and foreign debts and if they fail to appear, we’ll take appropriate and prompt action because this Senate will not condone any sabotage to the effort of this administration,” he said.

Buhari’s loan requests

It is not clear the exact loan request the Senate President was referring to as the Senate had in the past three months approved three external loan requests from the president.

The Senate had on July 7, approved a $6.1 billion loan request by the president Muhammadu Buhari, an amount equivalent to N2.343 trillion.

Another loan request of $8.3 billion (N8,325,536,537) €490 million loan was approved by the upper chamber in the same month.

The president, in his request, had said the total amount is part of the 2018 – 2020 external borrowing (rolling) plan of the federal government.

In September, the president sent another request to borrow $4 billion ($4,054,476,863) and €710 million loan from bilateral and multilateral organisations to fund the deficit in the 2021 budget.

The presidency had said a total of 15 projects, spread across the six geo-political zones of the country, are to be financed with more than $4 billion from multilateral institutions, under the external borrowing plan.

The President’s last request to the Senate listed 15 proposed pipeline projects, the objectives, the implementation period, benefiting states, as well as the implementing MDAs.

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He had said the sovereign loans will be sourced from the World Bank, French Development Agency (AFD), China-Exim Bank, International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD), Credit Suisse Group and Standard Chartered/China Export and Credit (SINOSURE).

Mr Buhari has been criticised for plunging the country into more debts through these loans but his handlers have argued that the loans are needed for developmental projects.

Previous threats

This is not the first time Mr Lawan’s would summon or issue threats against MDAs.

In the past, he had threatened to name (and demand punishment for) MDAs that fail to appear before different Senate committees for one issue or the other.

His recent threat was in June when he faulted MDAs for failing to appear before the Senate Public Accounts Committee for an audit of their accounts and to defend their expenditures.


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