Ali Ndume, the Senator representing Borno South, on the platform of the All Progressives Congress (APC), says the rate of borrowings by the Nigerian government is increasing and worrisome.
President Muhammadu Buhari had in a letter on Tuesday sought the approval of the Senate to borrow another $4billion (4,054,476,863) and €710million loan from bilateral and multilateral organisations to fund the deficit in the 2021 budget.
Buhari’s latest request comes barely two months after the National Assembly approved his earlier request to borrow $8.3billion and €490million loans contained in the initial 2018-2020 borrowing plan.
While he said the loan request was an addendum to the 2018-2020 borrowing plan, he also asked the lawmakers to approve grant components of $125 million.
He told the lawmakers that the need to borrow more funds was to meet “emerging needs” for some “critical projects.”
Speaking during a press briefing at the National Assembly on Thursday, Ndume said it was more worrisome when there was little or nothing to show for what the loans were used for.
This was even as he faulted the Senate for rushing to approve the loan requests.
He said, “I’m not an expert in debt analysis. Honestly, the rate of our borrowing is increasing and is worrisome. But it is not the borrowing that is the problem as I always say, it is what you do with what you borrow.
“It is not the borrowing. And this request for loans that the president sent to the National Assembly is part of the approved external borrowing.
“You guys should look at what the borrowing is for in the first place. Is it necessary? Are the terms good? Borrowing is not a crime but when the rate of debt servicing increases and I understand it is getting to 80, 90 per cent, you have to be cautious. You have to look at alternatives.
“This is what we should analyse and see if it is necessary. Let us look at the implications and what the money is meant for. For example, we have infrastructural deficit in this country and with what we hear when people come to Abuja or when allocations are made, you can’t tell what is done with it.
“Another thing I’m worried about is the way the Senate is handling it. The Senate, by definition, is House of deliberation. When things like this (loan request) comes, you don’t just say, because you want to be good, you approve it. No.
“You’re supposed to look at it critically. Cross the Ts, dot the Is, ask questions, carry the people you are representing along, ask if they agree. Not that we just sit down and just approve it.
“We thought it might be good but the way we do it makes the people we represent look at us suspiciously. There are situations where the time is short and we need to act fast, then we’ll have to carry the people along. I feel the pain when they say ‘you people again’. You call us rubber stamp and all that.”
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Sokoto massacre: Attack Callous, Painful, Regrettable, Obaseki Fumes
tTe Edo State Governor, Mr. Godwin Obaseki, on Tuesday reacted to the attack on Goronyo Market, in Goronyo Local Government Area of Sokoto State by bandits which led to the death of about 43 villagers.
Obaseki, in a statement issued by Crusoe Osagie, the Special Adviser to the Edo State Governor on Media and Communication Strategy, commiserated with the people and government of Sokoto State, over the dastardly attack on Goronyo Market by bandits.
He also charged security agencies to intensify efforts in reining in the marauding bandits so as to prevent another re-occurrence.
The governor who described the incident as callous, painful and regrettable, prayed for the repose of the souls of the victims of the attack.
According to him, “We are deeply saddened by the terror attack in Goronyo Market, Sokoto State, which has thrown the entire country into mourning. Our hearts are with Governor Aminu Waziri Tambuwal and the people of the state, as they go through this difficult phase.
“We join all meaning Nigerians in calling on the security agencies to intensify efforts in reining in the marauding bandits so as to prevent this painful loss of our citizens to banditry and terrorism.
“On behalf of the government and good people of Edo State, I commiserate with the people of Sokoto State and the Governor over this painful incident.”
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2023 Presidency: Akpabio Decries Distraction From Channels TV, Others
Ex-Governor of Akwa Ibom State now Minister of Niger Delta Affairs, Godswill Akpabio has urged Channels Television against distracting him from the task of helping President Muhammadu Buhari achieve his set goals for the Niger Delta people.
The minister, who knocked the broadcaster for listing him among those seeking to succeed Buhari in 2023, faulted the use of his photograph on the Television station’s political programme for the same purpose.
Recall that in a statement signed by his Chief Press Secretary, Jackson Udom, the Minister kicked that the nation’s media were not respecting his request not to be associated with ambition for the 2023 presidency.
The former Senate Minority Whip categorically requested: “that he be allowed to focus on the national assignment of assisting President Mohammadu Buhari to achieve his set goals for the people of Niger Delta Region.”
The statement read in part, “On Sunday, 17th October 2021, Channels Television’s political discussion and interview programme – Politics Today, anchored by Mr Seun Okinbaloye, listed the name of the Hon. Minister and went ahead to use his photograph as one of those purportedly eyeing the presidential seat in 2023.
“As a politician and a serving Minister of the Federal Republic, who understands the distractions such unsolicited action(s) could cause in the polity, the Hon Minister, has, therefore, for the umpteenth time, called on groups, individuals and media houses, either Newspapers, Television, Radio or Online discussion platforms, to forthwith, stop associating his name and picture whenever 2023 Presidential discussions are being held.”
Udom asserted that the Minister has neither consulted any individual or groups nor declared interest in contesting for the rumoured post in the upcoming election.
According to him, “What is topmost in the heart of the Hon. Minister is how to assist President Mohammadu Buhari to leave a lasting legacy in the Niger Delta Region and to reposition the Niger Delta Development Commission (NDDC) to deliver on its mandate.”
The statement, therefore, warned other media houses and 2023 presidential election campaigners against the use of Akpabio’s “name and photographs as one of the purported presidential aspirants in 2023, in any of their discussion platforms.”
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NASS Must Listen To INEC On Electoral Bill, Says Jega
Attahiru Jega, former chairman of the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC), says the national assembly must consider the recommendations of the agency to avoid ambiguity in the electoral act.
His statement comes weeks after Festus Okoye, national commissioner of INEC, said there is a provision in clause 63 that contradicts the provision for electronic transmission of result in clause 52 of the electoral act.
He had appealed to the harmonisation committees and the national assembly to amend the ambiguous clauses so as not to be used by politicians with selfish agendas to exploit legal loopholes for their own electoral advantages.
Speaking on the issue on Sunrise Daily, a Channels Television programme, on Tuesday, Jega said there is a need to harmonise the provisions of the act so as to avoid ambiguity and contradictions in electoral operations.
He asked the harmonisation committees in the bicameral assembly to give “serious consideration” to the recommendations of INEC.
The former INEC chief said any provision of the law that contradicts the use of electronic transmission of results for the 2023 elections must be amended.
“If the national assembly can generally continue to be receptive to genuine concern of citizens in the manner in which they do their legislation, this country would be better for it,” he said.
“There is a need to harmonise provision of the electoral act so that one provision does not contradict another and so that at the end of it those that want to cause mischief will not exploit the ambiguity and contradictory provisions in the law.
“It behooves the two committees of the house and senate that are sitting to harmonise the provisions of the bill to also give serious consideration to suggestions made by INEC.
“It is a value addition that can continue to improve the operations and conduct of elections in our country.
“There is no doubt that we have to go in the direction of electronic transmission of results and where there is any provision that can affect or negate or constrain that effort to transmit results electronically, those provisions need to be carefully looked at and then necessary amendments also exerted.
“The national assembly needs to pay attention to the very important issue that has been raised.
“The harmonisation committee of the national assembly should do the needful in addressing these provisions of the electoral bill that are being raised by INEC.
“In creating a legal framework for the operations of election, it is important that the national assembly listens to the recommendation of INEC.”
267 total views, 267 views today
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