Home People & Power Senate defers foreign loans to Kaduna, ‎Katsina, others

Senate defers foreign loans to Kaduna, ‎Katsina, others

ADEKUNLE ADESUJI, Abuja

Senate on Thursday suspended foreign loan ‎request to Kaduna, Katsina, Jigawa and Ogun states.

The Upper chamber, however, approved loans for ‎Ondo, Ebonyi, Abia, Enugu, Kano and Plateau States.

Acting President Yemi Osinbajo had sought the urgent approval of the National Assembly for $1.49 billion foreign loan requests by 10 states.

But in the report, Senate approved $200 million for Abia; $150 million for Ebonyi, $100 million for Kano, $200 million for Ondo and $100 for Enugu states.

The total approval for six states is $750 million.

Presenting the report, Chairman of the Senate Committee on Foreign loans, Senator Shehu Sani, said the reason for not approving loans for four states was because it was agreed to be given the loan in phases.

According to him, there is need for a phased approval of the loan for the 10 states.

“The first phase of the loan request includes Abia, Ebonyi, Enugu, Kano, Ondo and Plateau states. The committee also observed that there was a shorfall of $100 million in the amount proposed in the President’s borrowing plan for Abia state, which the federal Ministry of Finance agreed to in their presentation.

“The remaining four states in the borrowing plan be deferred.” he said.

In the letter titled: “Re-Federal Executive Council Approval of the 2016-2018 External Borrowing (rolling) Plan,” and dated May 25, 2017, Osinbajo urged the Senate and the House of Representatives to grant accelerated hearing to the loan requests to allow the states embark on the projects for which the loans were being sought.

The Osinbajo letter was read at plenary T by Senate President Bukola Saraki and Speaker of the House, Hon. Yakubu Dogara.

“I write in reference to my earlier letter requesting for the consideration and approval of the Senate for the 2016-2018 External Borrowing plan and request the Senate to separate the states’ projects from the items listed in the borrowing plan with a view of giving them accelerated consideration,” Osinbajo said.

A breakdown of the loan request includes the Kaduna State Development Policy Operation $350 million World Bank loan; Ogun State Development Policy Operation $350 million World Bank loan; Ebonyi Ring Road Project – $70 million from the African Development Bank (AfDB) and Rural Access and Mobility Project (RAMP); and Abia State $100 million for rural development from the AfDB.

Others include the Katsina State Health System Project – $100 million from the Islamic Development Bank (IDB); Jigawa State Integrated Rural Development Project – $32.4 million from IDB; and Kano State Integrated Agricultural and Water Resources Development – $200 million from IDB.

Enugu, Kano, Plateau and Ondo States are also each seeking $200 million from the French Development Agency for the third National Urban Water Sector Reform (NUWSRP-III), the letter stated.

The total loan for the states being presented for special consideration and approval is $1.49 billion, Osinbajo said in the letter.

“Mr. Senate President, you may wish to know that the request for the separation of the state projects from the list became imperative in view of the current economic realities in the country and the pressing needs of these states to provide infrastructure and social amenities for their citizens,” he added.

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