Saturday, 5 November 2016
Don’t politicise issues- Saraki
The Senate President, Bukola Saraki has beseeched Nigerians not to politicise what he defined, as “a very important issue."
Saraki, who was at the Presidential Villa to join President Buhari and other dignitaries to observe the Jumat prayers, as well as, interact with him, assured that the request to borrow $30 billion was a work in progress.
A week after the president, submitted a request to the National Assembly to approve an external borrowing plan of $29.960 billion to execute key infrastructural projects across the country between 2016 and 2018, the Senate on Tuesday threw out the request without debate and said the proposal lacks details.
The Buhari’s administration had explained that the loan, which experts say is the biggest in country’s borrowing history, will fund projects in areas such, as infrastructure development, agriculture, health, education, water supply, growth and employment generation.
Other sectors are poverty reduction through social safety net programmes and governance and financial management reforms, among others.
Accordingly, the Senate had put the blame squarely on some of the President’s aides, who did not do their job, accusing them of deliberately wanting to cause unnecessary friction between the legislature and the executive.
A Nigeria’s debt profile has risen to N16.29 trillion, as at June this year, representing $61.7 billion at N283/$1 exchange rate, according to the Debt Management Office.
In the 2016 budget, N1.48 trillion is meant for debt servicing, far higher than the country’s N221.7 billion budget for health and the N369.6 billion for education.
The proposed 2016-2018 borrowing (rolling) plan of $29.960 billion is made up of proposed projects and programmes loan of $11.274 billion, special national infrastructure projects $10.686 billion, Euro bonds of $4.5 billion and Federal Government budget support of $3.5 billion.
Saraki opined that, “I came here to pray, I have finished praying and I just had a general felicitation with the President. It didn’t go beyond that”.
When asked if the rejection of the loan will not strain the relationship with executive, the Senate President replied, “We should not look at that, as a reflection of the relationship. Don’t let us politicise very important issues. As we said, this is work in progress”.