Lawmaker faults Buhari on $22.799bn loan for rehabilitation of railway lines

Deputy Minority Leader House of Representatives Hon. Toby Okechukwu has faulted the Federal Government’s plan in borrowing of $22.799 billion loan sought for and approved by the House on Tuesday for infrastructure projects particularly railway lines spread across¬† the country.

In a swift reaction to the adopted report on the $22.799 billion external loan, Okechukwu argued that the “approval of the loan does not mean the expectations of our people.
In a short interview with newsmen after the report was adopted, he said, “Because first and foremost, there are certain strategic projects that ought to be there. First the Western Corridor Rail line which goes from Lagos to Kano and the Eastern Corridor Rail line that goes from Port Harcourt through Enugu to Makurdi, Plateau down to Maiduguri. They were established the same day, there were commenced the same day, they were completed the same day they were operating. So to take one in exclusion of the other is not appropriate.
“Secondly, it is an infrastructural sufficient to give impetus to the eastern corridor passing through South South, South East, North Central and North East. And if you check all these areas what you’ll see, is that we have trouble from Boko Haram to agitations to militancy; we have challenges in these areas and when you don’t undertake economic activities that will improve it, you are not helping.
“So it is our considered opinion that that should have been a priority. We appreciate the effort of Mr. Speaker in terms of trying by all means for the past 4 months to accommodate these Lines but of course there was no initiation for it and this is where you find out that the budget or loan approval is as good as …but we need to think globally.
“We looked at this as Nigerians and our expectation is that there should have been some more prudence to this effect. So we appreciate the proviso that there should be South East in the next borrowing plan but it’s a promissory note. If you go to the bank if it’s your bank you’re lucky because it must be initiated, so we felt that this loan approval should have waited until they complete the feasibility so that the South East, North East are sufficiently accommodated.
“It is not there, I need no science yo know that the North east in the budgetary appropriation and South East, they have always come last in budgetary appropriations. So there are some reasons why those places are restive. So our expectation is what we are borrowing is omnogous; we are taking this 22 billion, we are going to take another 4.5 billion to fund the budget, the next season we are going to take another ¬£4 billion for power, so at which point are you going to accommodate the South East. And that is why we said look this is the proper time to do it.
“And it simply because the Executive is not willing. They are not able to do that and at the Parliamentary level we are expecting that at the appropriate level that should have been taken into consideration,” Hon. Okechukwu noted.
The Peoples Democratic Party PDP lawmaker has therefore challenged the members of Federal Executive Council FEC to ensure that all the six geo-political zones of the country are carried along in the execution of critical infrastural projects that have direct bearing on the socio-economic life of the entire citizenry.
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