Wednesday, 28 December 2022

Drama in Senate over Buhari’s N23.7tn loan request

The Senate is currently in a rowdy session over the request by the President, Major General Muhammadu Buhari (retd.), to approve Ways and Means Advances 

restructuring to the tune of N23.7 trillion.
At the plenary on Wednesday, Senate President, Ahmad Lawan, and Speaker of the House of Representatives, Femi Gbajabiamila, read out Buhari’s request to members of the respective chambers.
In the request titled, ‘Restructuring of Ways and Means Advances,’ the President wrote, “The Ways and Means Advance by the Central Bank of Nigeria to the Federal Government has been a funding option to the Federal Government to cater for short-term or emergency finance to fund delayed government expected cash receipt of fiscal deficit.
“The Ways and Means balance as of 19th December 2022, is N23,719,703,774,306.90.
“I have approved the securitisation of the Ways and Means balances along the following terms: amount, N23.7tn; tenure, 40 years; moratorium on principal repayment, three years; pricing interest rate, nine per cent.”
However, drama ensued at the plenary when the chairman of the Senate Committee on Finance, Senator Solomon Adeola, was reporting the committee’s finding on the Ways and Means when the lawmaker representing Rivers West, Senator Betty Apiafi, stood up to counter the new borrowings, and the Senate President shouted her down.
Events took another dimension as senators began to shout, standing up and shouting with aggression.
Different lawmakers such as Senator Smart Adeyemi (APC, Kogi West), and George Sekibo (PDP Rivers) raised a motion in support of Apiafi that the Senate President had no power to shout down a senator while speaking.
As the tension kept increasing at the plenary, Lawan quickly called for a closed-door session.

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