Tuesday, 1 November 2016

Buhari’s bid to borrow $29.96bn-Senate dumps bid

Senate dumps Buhari’s bid to borrow $29.96bn
The Senate Tuesday rejected the plan of President Muhammadu Buhari to borrow $29.96 billion under the 2016-2018 External Borrowing Plan.

The upper chamber voted massively against the request of President Buhari to borrow the money.

Twice Senate President, Abubakar Bukola Saraki, put the question “That  the Senate do consider the request of the President C-in-C on the 2016-2018 External Borrowing Rolling Plan,” twice it was rejected.

Senate Leader, Senator Mohammed Ali Ndume, moved the motion for the consideration of the request, Deputy Minority Leader, Emmanuel Bwacha, seconded.

Saraki put the question which was roundly rejected.

Findings showed that the lawmakers were not comfortable with “some glaring omissions in the Executive Communication” forwarded to them by President Buhari.

A source said that the President failed to “attach draft of Federal Government 2016-2018 External Borrowing (Rolling) Plan for consideration of the Senate” as indicated in the Executive Communication.

The source added that the last paragraph of the communication gave the impression of anticipatory approval required by President Buhari.

He noted that “by asking the National Assembly leadership to approve the borrowing plan that involves huge sums of funds without formal consideration of the Senate in session smacks some blackmail.”

The last paragraph of the communication said, “Given the emergency nature of these facilities and the need to consolidate the peace and return the region (North East) to normalcy and considering the time it will take to get the National Assembly’s approvals, it has become inevitable to request for the National Assembly leadership approval pending the consideration and approval of the 2016-2018 borrowing plan by the National Assembly to enable us disburse these funds immediately.”

Senator Ndume who spoke on the rejection of the President’s request said that there was technical error in the request.

He however promised to represent the request on a later date.

Ndume said, “I was shocked as the Senate leader that they rejected the programme. I was not anticipating what happened. It was rejected on technical ground. If you look at the letter, it said ‘attached’ but there was no attachment. There are no details. I will appeal to my colleagues and represent it for consideration. There is nothing to worry about. We cannot throw away the baby with the bad water.”

The listed of 46 non-career Ambassadors was also rejected by the Senators but Saraki used his veto power over turn the nay vote.

Saraki also put the question twice for the Senate to consider the request of the President C-in-C on the confirmation of the nomination of the following persons for appointment as non-career Ambassador designate.

It was obvious that the Senators were opposed to the list but Saraki saved the day by over-turning the majority position.

The Senator representing the Federal Capital Territory, Philip Aduda, protested against the list last week because of non-inclusion of FCT nominees in the list.

President Buhari had on Tuesday last week sent a request to the National Assembly to approve external borrowing plan of $29.960 billion to execute key infrastructural projects across the country between 2016 and 2018.

Buhari explained that targeted projects cuts across all sectors with special emphasis on infrastructure, agriculture, health, education, water supply, growth and employment generation.

He listed other sectors to include poverty reduction through social safety net programmes and governance and financial management reforms.

President Buhari said that the cost of the projects and programmes under the borrowing rolling plan is $29.960 billion.

Source: The Nation