$30bn loan: Why Senate rejected Buhari’s request

The Senate, yesterday, unanimously, threw out President Muhammadu Buhari’s request for external loan of $29.96 billion to execute key infrastructural projects across the country between 2016 and 2018 because the letter conveying it was not accompanied by a borrowing plan.

The Senate did not even discuss the request as it died immediately it was mentioned as an executive communication by Senate Leader, Senator Ali Ndume. However, the Presidency, in a swift reaction by Senior Special Assistant to the President on National Assembly Matters, Senate, Senator Ita Enang, said it would engage the Senate and provide all the needed documents and borrowing plan. The matter came up soon after the Senate convened for the day’s plenary and the request was number one under Executive communication in the Order Paper. Leader of the Senate, Senator Ali Ndume, moved a motion that the request be considered and his motion was seconded by the Deputy Minority Leader of the Senate, Senator Emmanuel Bwacha. President of the Senate, Bukola Saraki who presided over the plenary, put the question forward whether or not the request should be debated. However, Senate President Saraki was  interrupted by Senator Dino Melaye, APC, Kogi West, who raised a point of order. He was still speaking when he was cut short by Saraki, who insisted that the question be put forward before Melaye’s position will be accommodated. Senate President  Saraki, thereafter put it to vote and the nays had it. Senator Saraki who was surprised and apparently out to give President Buhari a soft landing, decided to put it to vote the second time and the Senators again thundered ‘nay’ and the Senate President had no option than to rule in favour of those who voted against collecting the loan. The request was shot down at about 11am yesterday.

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