Senate panel rejects Buhari’s $700m loan request for water projects

The Senate Local and External Debts Committee on Wednesday rejected the President’s request, Major General Muhammadu Buhari (Retired), for a loan to the National Assembly for sustainable water supply, sanitation and hygiene in the environment. urban and rural, under the aegis of the Ministry of Water Resources.

The development came 24 hours after the Ministry of Health appeared before the Committee to seek approval for $200 million for the purchase of mosquito nets and malaria drugs.

Panel members alternately criticized the loan for sustainable urban and rural water supply, sanitation and hygiene.

They asked the officials of the Ministry of Water Resources led by the Permanent Secretary, Ms. Esther Didi Walson-Jack, to provide the committee with an update on the loans collected so far for the water projects of the ministry.

The chairman of the committee, Senator Clifford Ordia, said three different loans had been approved for various water projects.

Ordia said, “$450 million for the Ministry of Water project funded by the African Development Bank and another $6 million loan under the Integrated Development Program also funded by the African Development Bank. development and the Gurara water project.

“You have to tell us what you are doing with $700 million for water projects.”

The Committee therefore agreed to summon the Minister of Water Resources, Adamu Suleiman, to appear to give an explanation on the loans and the status of the loans collected so far.

Speaking against the loan, Senator Obinna Ogba said he would be against approving the granting of the loan as some loans have been collected for water projects and have yet to see the result.

He said, “This particular loan? I can’t support this one anymore, that’s enough.

Also opposed to the loan, Senator Ibrahim Oloriegbe demanded the criteria for selecting the beneficiary states.

He added that the details provided by the permanent secretary were not sufficient to justify the loan.

The senator said, “What are the criteria for selecting recipient states, the details you provide are not enough, what projects do you want to do with $640 million, and how many water projects are you going to do.

“You give each state $3 million to build staff capacity. Do we need a loan to perform this function, you mean not all states can do it alone.

Senator Sani Musa, while rejecting the loan request, advised the committee to review all the requests and choose the one that was needed.

The Nigerian senator said, “We should look at this loan and take the ones that are needed and we should drop the ones that are not needed. We have to look at it very critically.

Senator Birma Enagi also protested the $700 million loan request and demanded to know the status of the Gurara project from the ministry.

The senators did not seem convinced by the explanation of the permanent secretary on the previous loans approved for water projects.

She told the Committee that sustainable water supply, sanitation and hygiene in urban and rural areas would last for five years.

She said, “$640 million will be used for the project while the $60 million was for capacity building.

“The proposal was negotiated with the World Bank in April 2021 and approved by the Federal Executive Council on August 11, 2021.

“States that would benefit from the $700 loan from the World Bank are Delta, Ekiti, Gombe, Imo, Kaduna, Katsina and Plateau with matching funding of $175 million.

“The program will provide improved water sanitation and hygiene services to 2,000 schools and health care facilities and support 500 communities to end open defecation free status,” said she declared.

Copyright PUNCH.

All rights reserved. This material and any other digital content on this website may not be reproduced, published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed in whole or in part without the prior express written permission of PUNCH.

Contact: [email protected]

Comments are closed.