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Following a major emergency meeting, Senate approves FG’s $22.7bn loan request

On Thursday the Senate approved the federal government’s $22.7bn international borrowing plan after an emergency closed door discussion. The loan discussion failed on the Senate floor when some opposition lawmakers demanded the specifics of the programs in which the money is to  financed.

Which prompted closed door session in the Red Chamber. The dispute started when Senator Clifford Ordia, the Chairman of the Local and Foreign Loans Committee, delivered the report to the plenary without the specifics of the projects to be funded with the loan.

Senator Enyinnaya Abaribe, the Senate Minority Leader, had requested specifics of the projects to be introduced and that the lawmakers would closely examine the recommendations of the panel objectively before passing the report.

He said the Senate needed to look at every item in the report and then decide which of the projects would help the country’s economy to grow. “We can now accept that once we decide that, because it will benefit us later on,” he said. The Senate President, Ahmad Lawan, who said the study can not be scrutinized clause by clause because it is not a bill, turned down Abaribe’s proposal.

Lawan said, “What’s here is what’s going to finance our capital budget, so it’s important to be aware that we need to support the capital aspects of the budget. “If we find any lopsidedness, I think it may not only be for this Senate to obstruct progress, but it is critical that it takes note of places that are left out and then we address them in the next process.”

He said that Abaribe may decide to vote against all of the recommendations or make amendments. “What we want is to vote actively on the programs, and there will be no execution of the capital budget until it is approved.” The loan proposal was accepted by the upper legislative chamber after about 20 minutes of executive session. Lawan has promised that the Senate will closely follow the execution of the projects

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