The Chairman, Senate Committee on Media and Affairs, Aliyu Sabi Abdulahi, has indicted officials of the Presidency, over what he considers to be lack of due diligence.
In his words, “some people around the President who ought to carry out their jobs very seriously, are not doing that”.
This came after the Senate rejected the Federal Government’s request for a $30bn loan on November 1, 2016, on grounds of incomplete presentation.
According to Mr Abdulahi, “details of the plan were missing.
“If you plan to borrow such a huge sum of money, it’s important to include the details and come up with a solid plan.
“At the end of the day, they are creating a situation whereby when the senate acts in line with its constitutional duties, they tend to now see that as an anti-action,” he added.
Explaining further, he said it was important to note that at the beginning of the eighth senate, “the senate was very clear, emphatic and unambiguous about certain things.
“There was also an agreement that the Federal Government could go for a concessionary loan, to enhance the implementation of the 2016 budget, which already had a borrowing plan of about 2.3 trillion,” he explained.
Furthermore, he clarified that the senate is not averse to the executive, coming up with something like this. “we actually made that suggestion also, through the recession resolutions that we passed”.
He however stated that as representatives of the people, the senate has a duty to ensure that only actions that would bring people succor, rather than putting them in more difficulty, are taken.
Considering the borrowing plan as a very serious matter, he said reports gathered, have estimated that the loan may take up to 30 years to recover.
“Now do we say the letter that Mr President brought is sufficient for us to just give our consent?” he questioned.
Explaining further about the senate’s rejection of the President’s request, he said “we must therefore be very fair and thorough in taking such a decision.
“We have given approval for so many things, however on this particular loan, every senator is trying to consider what is in it for the constituents of the various state local government areas.”
The essence of this representation is that we are here to ensure that the dividends of democracy gets down to almost every cranny.
The senate leaders had promised to meet with relevant members of the executive to discuss the details and do a proper presentation to the senate at a later date.
The House of Representatives is however yet to consider the President’s request as they had earlier called off the consideration which was to take place on Thursday.
The legislators pointed out that despite the good intentions of President Buhari, they had reservations about his team.
There are indications that it may not be considered this week as well.
The senators turned down the external borrowing request due to what they called “lack of documents supporting the request as referenced in the letter”.
President Buhari wrote to the National Assembly seeking its approval for an external borrowing of 29.9 billion dollars to ensure the prompt implementation of projects.
He said that the projects would cut across agriculture, health, education, and water supply.
In the letter read on the floor of the House of Reps by Speaker Yakubu Dogara, the President explained:
“Considering the huge infrastructural deficit currently being experienced in the country and the enormous financial resources required to fill the gap in the face of dwindling resources and the inability of our annual budget to bridge the infrastructure deficit, it has become necessary to resort to prudent external borrowing to bridge the financial gap which will largely be applied to key infrastructure projects namely power, railway and road projects, amongst others.