The Senate again on Wednesday approved President Muhammadu Buhari’s External Borrowing (Rolling Plan) request in the sum of $16,230,077,718, and €1,020,000,000.
This is despite the hues and cries by the Nigerians that the debt Profile of the country is becoming too huge for the country to bear.
The loans are to be funded by the World Bank, China Exim Bank, industrial, and commercial banks as well as African Development Bank (AfDB) among others.
Also approved by the upper chamber was a grant component of $125 million.
Wednesday’s approval was sequel to the consideration of the report of the Senate Committee on Local and Foreign Debts, as presented by the Chairman of the Committee, Senator Clifford Ordia.
Ordia, while presenting the report, said the projects which funds are requested for in the 2018-2020 borrowing plan are ongoing.
The lawmaker noted that the said projects will stimulate a “rebirth of commercial and engineering activities and the consequent tax revenues payable to Government as a result of these productive activities will increase.”
In September 2020, President Buhari requested the facilities in an addendum to the 2018-2020 borrowing plan. The National Assembly had in July approved $8.3 billion and €490 million as initial loan requests.
Making a case for the extra request, the president stated that the loans would stimulate the economy and create jobs.
Meanwhile, a bill to amend the Niger Delta Development Committee (NDDC) Act 2000 to include states, which have recently attained oil-producing status, has passed the second reading at the Senate.
Sponsor of the bill, Senator Solomon Olamilekan said on Wednesday that following the discovery of oil in Bauchi, Lagos, and Ogun, the states have officially joined the league of oil-producing states and by virtue of this, they are entitled to the 13 percent derivation due to them according to the provision of Section 162 Sub-Section 2 of the Nigeria Constitution.
While many agreed with Senator Olamilekan, there were some who did not support the amendment of the NDDC Act.
One of such was Senator George Sekibo who questioned the quantity of oil discovered in the states to be included in the NDDC, wondering if the quantity is enough to be refined and sold to benefit the country.
Similarly, Senator Matthew Urhogide argued that the name of the commission is specific in identifying the states which should be under the commission.
He further stated that non- Niger Delta states can benefit from the 13% derivation but to say that they belong to the commission makes a mockery of the original idea for setting up NDDC.
Deputy Senate President Ovie Omo Agege, who also was strongly against the bill, accused Senator Olamilekan of being a meddlesome interloper.
According to Omo-Agege, Senator Olamilekan should pursue the development of the southwest development commission and not an amendment of the NDDC act.