Reps consider government’s external borrowing request

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The Nigerian House of Representatives says it will continue to partner with the Executive Arm to provide the needed infrastructure for the country, as it considers an external borrowing request.

The Chairman House Committee on Aids, Loan and Debt Management, Mr. Adeyinka Ajayi stated this at an interactive session with States Government to scrutinize the government’s External Borrowing request for 2016-2018, submitted to the House in May.

Mr. Ajayi said the committee is working with the fiscal responsibility act to ensure all the money to be borrowed are used for economic development.

“The need for the borrowing entities to ensure that foreign borrowings are channeled to capital expenditure and human development related projects and programmes as well as ensure that the states are able to service the debts within the terms of agreement by both parties, is important.” Ajayi stressed.

Ten states are to benefit from the loan facility from World Bank, African Development Bank and Islamic Development Bank for the development of critical infrastructure and agriculture.

So far, Abia, Ebonyi, Enugu and Kano State Governments have given approval to continue negotiations with the Development Partners on the 2016-2018 external borrowing plan, while Katsina, Kaduna and Jigawa States have completed their defense.

Breakdown of the foreign loans shows that the sum of $350 million from World Bank is for Kaduna State; $110 million from Islamic Development Bank (IDB) for Katsina State health project; $32.4 million from the Islamic Development Bank for implementation of Jigawa State Agricultural Enterprise Development Project; $200 million facility from African Development Bank for Abia state; $266 million from Islamic Development Bank requested by Niger State for dualization of Minna-Bida road.

Speaking on behalf of Kaduna State Government, Abdul Kwari, State Commissioner for Finance‎, assured that the $350 million if approved would be used to create jobs and strengthen economic stability of the state.‎

He said “It cuts across other forms of governance in the system which includes the Treasury Single Accout and we have adopted a zero based budgeting system in the state. Public finance control and assessment law was also domesticated against the archaic way of doing things in the past.

That’s why the state is being viewed as the most business friendly state. We have reduced tax procedures and dealt with the issue of the multiple taxation in the state.”

Mariatu Bala Usman, Katsina State Comissioner for Health, in her presentation explained that the $110 million facility is for construction and renovation of 136 primary, secondary and tertiary health centres across the State under its Health System Strengthening Project.

She gave assurance that “the projects would incorporate the establishment of a public health laboratories,” as part of measures for preparedness against emergencies especially with the lessons learnt from the outbreak of Ebola and Lassa Fever across the country.”

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