Like Senate, Reps okay Buhari’s $22.7bn loan request

The House of Representatives on Tuesday approved President Muhammadu Buhari’s request to borrow $22.7 billion which was earlier suspended over non-inclusion of the South-East in the spending plan.

The lower legislative chamber approved the president’s request during the day’s plenary after considering the report of its Committee on Aids, Loans and Debt Management.

Buhari had sent the loan request to the National Assembly in 2019, claiming such would facilitate actualization of critical projects across the country.

The request had however left opinions divided among members of the green chamber, with many lawmakers faulting non-inclusion of the South East in the loan.

The controversies had consequently led to the suspension of the loan.

But during the day’s plenary, the loan request was again thrown up for debate by the lawmakers and was approved.

Addressing the lawmakers, Speaker of the House, Femi Gbajabiamila, said it was imperative for the chamber to approve the president’s request.

He added that the House was able to get the executive to agree to insert projects from the South-East and North-East into the next borrowing plan.

He said: “For the first time, we added a clause specifying certain projects. We met and demanded for the commitment of the executive that these projects must be considered in the next borrowing plan and we got their words.

“I am only seeking for the understanding of our colleagues from the north-east and south-east. All of us will agree that there is a massive wide infrastructural deficit in this country and we need to bridge that gap.

“I am pleading that you to understand with us and at this point, be nationalistic. Let us not throw away the baby with the bathwater. Mistakes have been made and it has been corrected for the future.”

The Senate also approved the loan which was earlier rejected by the 8th Assembly under the leadership of Bukola Saraki.

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