Published On: Thu, Mar 29th, 2018

Senate Rejects $350M Foreign Loan Request For Kaduna, Lawmakers Say It’s “Misplaced, Unimportant”

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By Nuel Suji – The Senate on Thursday rejected a $350million foreign loan request for Kaduna State government, with lawmakers describing the request as “misplaced priority” and “unimportant.”

The senate declined to approve the loan being the only one rejected of the 10 foreign loan requests forwarded to it by the President since last year.

Governor of Kaduna state

Speaking on the report of the committee set up by the senate to scrutinize the request, Senator Shehu Sani (APC, Kaduna Central) who is also the chairman of the ad hoc committee said the debt burden of Kaduna would rise to an unsustainable level if granted.

Citing the latest Debt Management Office figures, he said Kaduna State has a total debt stock of $232.1 million at the moment, “approving the current loan request of $350 million for Kaduna State will bring its total debt stock to $582.1 million,” Sen. Sani added.

“That if this loan request is approved, the new total debt stock of $582.1 million for Kaduna State will be unsustainable and necessarily attract huge financial burden on the meager federal allocation to the State.

“With the new borrowing, the Debt Service to Revenue Ratio of Kaduna State will further be increased and thus impact negatively on the ability of the State to meet other basic needs of its people.

“The new debt stock will likely, further erode the economic viability of the State,” he further argued.

his own contribution, Senator Suleiman Hukunyi (APC, Kaduna North) described the loan as “misplaced priority,” as he expressed shock that what his governor indicated to the public was “completely different from what we found on the application of the facilities as indicated in the detailed draw down table.”

Senator Danjuma La’ah (APC, Kaduna South) termed the loan as “unimportant” because his people did not give him the authority to approve the loan after meeting with several representatives.

According to him, despite the money received by the State “there is nothing happening in Kaduna state lately,” rather, “they are busy retiring and sacking people and you are asking for a loan. To do what with the loan? I don’t understand.”

Recall that Acting President Yemi Osinbajo forwarded a request for foreign loans to the Senate sometimes last year listing Kaduna, Ogun, Ebonyi, Abia, Katsina, Jigawa, Kano, Enugu, Plateau and Ondo as benefitting states.

The Senate had approved the sum of $1.806bn for the Lagos-Ibadan segment of the Lagos-Kano rail modernisation project.

The request includes the $200million from African Development Bank (AfDB), to Abia State for Rural Access and Mobility Project; the $70m for Ebonyi Ring Road project (to be co-financed by the Islamic Development Bank); Enugu, Kano, Plateau and Ondo jointly sought $200m for the National Water Urban Sector Reform.

“The IDB will finance the Integrated Agricultural and Water Resources Development project in Kano with $200m; and the Ebonyi Ring Road project with $80m (to be co-financed with AfDB).

“Enugu and Kano states will jointly get $100m from the French Development Agency for the Third National Urban Water Sector Reform project,” Presidency had requested.

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