Wednesday, September 9, 2020

Senate Set To Approve $22.8bn Loan For FG, Kaduna, Kogi, Katsina


The Senate is set to approve about $22.8 billion loan request from the federal government’s ministries and agencies including some states of Kaduna, Kogi and Katsina.
The Senate committee on local and foreign debt chaired by Clifford Ordia, yesterday interrogated federal government agencies and the states requesting for the foreign loan.
The Debt Management Office (DMO), headed by Patience Oniha, told the Senate yesterday that the debt servicing of the country which is put at about 18.74 percent was not bad.
She insisted that if all the current loan requests are granted, the debt servicing will be put at 20.9 percent, below the 50 percent debt servicing threshold setup by the International Monetary Fund (IMF) and the World Bank.
Reports has it that while the federal government agencies are seeking for about $22.7 million dollars loan with 75 percent of it to come from the People’s Republic of China’s Exim Bank, Kaduna is seeking for $350 million, Kogi $100 million loans  from the World Bank while Katsina state is seeking for $110 million loan from Islamic Development Bank, an amount 20 to 50 percent could be grant if approved by the Senate.
Speaking during an interactive session between the Senate committee on local and foreign debt with ministries, agencies and states seeking to acquire foreign loan, minister of Finance, Zainab Shamsuna Ahmed, said the entire debt profile of Nigeria is not even up to the threshold the country can stop borrowing.
“The $22.7 million borrowing plan is not new. It was part of the loan request presented to the 8th Senate,” Zainab said while explaining what the loan would be used for.
On why out of the $22.7 million being sourced for $17 million is to come from the People’s Republic of China’s Exim Bank, Zainab said it was the only country that shows willingness to borrow money to Nigeria for infrastructural development. She said internal generated revenue is not enough to fund the infrastructure adding that China Exim Bank agreed to offer the loan to Nigeria even when World Bank, IMF and others were not willing to grant the loan request.
Speaking during the Kaduna state presentation, the chief of staff to governor Nasir El-rufai, Mohammed Sani Abdullahi, said the $350 million loan request if approved, will help the state to improve Infrastructure for investors to come to the state and invest. Abdullahi said if the loan is approved, the urban renewal programme the state government have started in Kaduna metropolis would be expanded to Kafanchan and Zaria. He said they will improve security, renovate more schools across all the local governments adding that they are also relocating the Kaduna State University (KASU)  to a new campus and also expand the General Hospitals if the loan is approved. Abdullahi also said that the 300 – bed hospital in Mellenium city would be revived adding that 13 communities would be provided with solar power. He promised to provide the committee with the debt profile of Kaduna state but insisted the new loan is serviseable. Speaking, the Senator representing Kaduna Central, Uba Sani, who pleaded with his colleagues to approve the loan. Sani said the $350 million loan been sought for from the world Bank is going on insfracteustre and security. He since the Senate want more funds to be put on capital projects, added that the $350 loan request by Kaduna is going on such venture adding that world bank had approved the loan but needs the Senate backing. Also speaking the Senator representing Kaduna North Senatorial District, Suleiman Abdu Kwari, said two years ago he led the Kaduna team to the Senate seeking for the approval of the loan. He said now that he is now in the Senate, those who stop the previous approval were defeated adding that Kaduna need the loan to augment the infrastructure development. The Senate Committee chairman, Clifford Ordia, asked the Kaduna delegation to furnish them with the details of Kaduna debt profile within 48-hours.On the $110 million loan request of Katsina state, the Commissioner of Finance in the state, Engr Yakubu Danja said when approved, they will upgrade hospitals, train personal, reduce maternal maternity rate and other epidemic prone deseases in the state. He said the loan is coming from Islamic Development Bank without interest adding that if approved, 20 to 50 percent of the loan would be given as grant. For the $100 million Kogi state loan request, the state commissioner of Finance, Asiwaju Idris, said they are investigating the money on agriculture adding that 70 percent of their people are farmers. He said the farm produce don’t have processing plans adding that if the loan is approved, they will construct roads and provide processing plans for their agricultural produce. He said Kogi debt stands at  N123 billion adding that it is within the threshold they can borrow month. Minister of State for Transportation, Gbemi Saraki, Minister of FCT, Muhammad Bello, Minister of Work, Babatunde Raji Fashola and Minister of communication, Alhaji Lai Mohammed, all defended their loan request that is part of the $22.7 billion. Minister of information, Lai Mohammed said they applied for a $500 million lone for the degitilization of all NTA stations and for the improvement of creative industry that will provide 100,000 jobs to the youths. He said they will establishment Media and Cultural Training Centre and ensure digital coverage in all Nigeria villages which will create jobs. The Senate Committee chairman of local and foreign loan, Clifford Ordia who commended the states and federal government agencies over their presentations, said about seven agencies who want loan have not respone to the committee letter. He mentioned the ministry to includes: Niger Delta, Education, Humanitarian and Disaster Management, Water Resources, Health, Communication and Digital Economy. Ordia said the delay to approve the loan was caused by the poor responses from the ministries.

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