By Nuel Suji
The Senate has approved the $75m loan for Edo State as requested by President Buhari amidst cacophonous voices.
The position of the senate was in tandem with the recommendation of the Ad-hoc committee on foreign and local debts.
Making his presentations on the floor of the senate yesterday, the Ad-hoc committee chairman Senator Kabiru Gaya (Kano South) said that the committee took a holistic view of the performance of the first trench of the loan stressing that available information showed that funds from the Development Project Operations (DMO)I were judiciously used by the state government.
Speaking in support of the committee recommendations, Senator Mohammed Aliyu reminded his colleagues that the loan has already been captured in the 2015 appropriations, urging his colleagues to be rest assured that the loan will not be diverted as World Bank has internal mechanism used in monitoring the implementation of their loans.
In a dissenting voice, Senator Mathew Uroghide (Edo South) said “This request has tremendous credence as it is coming from the President based on the implementation of the 1st trench of the loan but let us not hinge our support on the loan based on the credibility of the President.”
“The debt profile of Edo State is high and this can be confirmed in the Debt Management Office(DMO) which has documents on the public domain.
“Edo State is one of the states waiting for bailout from the Federal Government to be able to pay salaries.
“A lot of public apprehension have also greeted the loan and many citizens of Edo State are skeptical that since the governor will leave office next year after serving out his full terms, sacrosanct use of the loan is doubtful”
The law maker went ahead to read on the floor the chambers several text messages purportedly sent to him by indigenes of Edo State calling for the rejection of the loan.
The $75m loan from the government of Edo State to the sponsored by the World Bank christened Development Project Operation (DMO)II is the second trench of an earlier loan from the same bank used for infrastructure development, provision of social amenities and creation of enabling facilities to enhance private sector driven economy which will ultimately lead to employment opportunities and increase in internally generated revenue (IGR).
Senate also at plenary deliberated on a motion sponsored by Senator Bala Ibn Na’Allah (Kebbi South) on “The Worrisome and Unstable Position of Nigeria Aviation Industry”.
Worried that the growth and development of domestic airlines in the country has remained stunted, Senator Bala called for total review of the extant laws which guide the operations of domestic and international airlines in Nigeria.
The distinguished announced a plethora of airlines eg. Sosoliso, Concord, Sloak, Okada, Chanchangi and others which have gone into liquidation a few years after take-off.
Deputy President of the Senate Ike Ekweremmadu told his colleagues that despite the recent infrastructure upgrade carried out by the last administration on some Major airports, Nnamdi Azikiwe Airport remains one of most ill-equipped in sub-sahara Africa.
According to Senator Ekweremmadu, “Nigerians are very active people, so our transport sector must be very active.”
He hammered on the need to sustain a national career at least for the image of the country.
Senator Shehu Sani also added,”National Carreer is not just about the economy, it is the pride of the Nation.” He urged the present senate to investigate into the out come of all the former interventions in the aviation.
Senator Jonah Jang told the Red Chambers that airline operators diverted the money ment for the resuscitation of the industry into other sectors leaving their airlines in a state of comatose.
The president of the senate at the end of the debate constituted an Ad-hoc committee to review the state of the aviation sector. The committee is to be headed by Senator Musa Rabiu Kwankwaso. Others members are Senators Utazi, Bala Na’Ala, and Adesoji. Also on the list are Senators Mara and Stella Odua.