President of the Senate, Ahmad Lawan, has raised an alarm that some Ministries, Departments and Agencies (MDAs) are sabotaging the efforts of President Muhammadu Buhari to provide critical infrastructure across the country, by refusing to face the lawmakers to justify projects the loans are meant for.
According to Lawan, despite several invitations extended by the Local and Foreign Debt Committee of the Senate, the MDAs have consistently refused to appear to justify projects listed to be funded through the loan requests sought by President Buhari.
The Senate on July 15, 2021, approved President Muhammadu Buhari’s external loan request to the tune of $8,325,526,537 (USD) and €490,000,000 (Euros) under the 2018-2020 External Borrowing (Rolling) Plan.
President Buhari, in another request contained in a letter read on September 14, 2021, had sought the approval of the Senate to borrow an additional sum of USD$4,054,476,863 billion and €710 million Euros.
Buhari explained that the loan was needed to fund projects listed in the addendum to the 2018 to 2021 Federal Government external borrowing plan.
He said the projects are to be financed through sovereign loans from the World Bank, French Development Agency, China Exim Bank, International Fund for Agriculture Development (IFAD), Credit Swiss Group, and Standard Chartered, in the credit total sum of 4.5 billion dollars,710 million euros and grant component of 125 million dollars.
Reacting to the refusal by MDAs to justify projects listed to be funded by the separate loan requests, Lawan described their action as an act of sabotage that will not be condoned by the National Assembly.
He listed the erring MDAs to include the Federal Ministry of Power, Ministry of Heath, Ministry of Women Affairs, Ministry of Petroleum Resources, National Agency for Science and Engineering Infrastructure, Ministry of Water Resources, and Ministry of Environment.
He, therefore, gave the MDAs a week’s deadline to appear before the Local and Foreign Debt Committee or face appropriate action to be dealt by the upper chamber.
The Senate President said, “List of some Ministries and agencies of federal government that should have appeared before Senate Committee on Loans and Foreign Debts, to defend the debt request by the Executive arm of government. These MDAs failed to appear.
“The Senate considers this attitude as a sabotage to the effort of the federal government to secure the loans and fund the infrastructural development that this country desperately needs.
“Already, the National Assembly has approved the loan request, but there is need for justification.
“I will therefore call the names of these MDAs, and we are giving them just one week to appear before the Committee on Loan and Foreign Debts.
“[And] if they fail to appear, we will take appropriate and prompt action, because this Senate will not condone any sabotage to the efforts of this administration to provide infrastructure to this country.”