The Presidency on Wednesday averred that the rejection of the proposed $29.96bn external borrowing plan of President Muhammadu Buhari-led administration by the Senate would not affect the implementation of the 2017 budget.
This assertion was made by the Special Assistant to the President on National Assembly Matters (Senate), Senator Ita Enang, while addressing pressmen in Abuja.
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Buhari had written to both chambers of the National Assembly, requesting the legislature to approve the borrowing plan for the execution of key programmes and infrastructural projects across the country – a request that was completely turned down by the Senate.
However, Enang assured Nigerians that the budget will be fully implemented without the loan.
He said, “On the request by Mr. President for approval to take a loan, remember that this $30bn request was not what was to be spent in 2016, 2017 or 2018; it was a projection for three years. Therefore, the Senate has remitted (transmitted) it back to the Mr. President, requesting further details.
“It is still pending in the House of Representatives. Now, the legislative process is still pending. I am sure you can observe in recent times the level of consultation between the arms of government and the leadership level of the Senate as well as at the level of the sub-committees; and between the ministers and the committees. These are all intended to address and resolve any question, which could be thorny in any of the requests made by the executive.”
“The President and the executive governors cannot proceed to take loans, because loans will become the responsibility of the entire nation to pay. And don’t also forget that the request by Mr. President was not only for the Federal Government to spend. Even if a state government wants to take a loan, it has to be approved by the National Assembly.
“So, the request by the various state governments to take loans for various projects was also contained therein. It is still undergoing consideration and consultation at the apex and sub levels.”