NIGERIA: Why We Haven’t Considered Jonathan’s $1 billion Loan Request - Senate

Two months after Jonathan asked the Senate to approve $1 billion loan request for the upgrading of military equipment, the Assembly monday explained why it didn’t reconvene during its eight-week recess to consider the request.

Briefing journalists on monday ahead of tuesday’s resumption, Chairman on Rules and Business, Senator Ita Enang, said the National Assembly didn’t cut short its two-month break to consider the demand because Jonathan did not send any request asking the Assembly to reconvene for its consideration.

Enang also said much work had been done on the much awaited Petroleum Industry Bill (PIB), adding that legislation on the bill is almost concluded.

According to him, if the president felt there was the urgent need to consider the loan request, he would have sent a request to the Assembly asking it to reconvene to consider the demand, adding that as long as that was not done, cutting short its break to consider the request would be unnecessary.

He, however, promised that as the Senate resumed legislation today, the request would be prioritised, saying it would promptly be listed on the Paper for immediate consideration along with other issues which he said the Senate President, Senator David Mark, would consider to be of national importance.

Jonathan had on July 16 sought Assembly’s consent to secure whopping $1 billion loan to enable the federal government upgrade military equipment in its renewed fight against Haram and stamp out insurgency in the country.

The president, according to a letter addressed to both chambers of the Assembly, explained that the loan would also enable the government to engage in what he described as “government to government arrangement” for the upgrade.
The letter read: “You are no doubt aware of the ongoing and serious security challenges which the nation is facing as typified by the Haram terrorist threat. I would like to bring to your attention the urgent need to upgrade the equipment, training and logistic of our armed forces and security services to enable them confront this serious threat more forcefully.

“For this reason, I seek the concurrence of the Assembly for external borrowing of not more than $1 billion including government to government arrangement for this upgrade. While counting on the steadfast support of the distinguished members of the Senate as always, please accept my assurances of highest consideration.”

He also listed other issues for consideration upon this resumption to include election matters especially as the 2015 polls draw near, harmonisation of constitution amendment proposals by both chambers of the Assembly, increasing spate of insurgency in the North-east as well as issues bordering on fiscal responsibility bill.

He also said the Senate would henceforth await medium term expenditure framework which would set the roadmap for 2015 fiscal year.

Source: ThisDay Live
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