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Jonathan gets Senate approval to borrow $915m

*As senators vow to monitor utilisation

By Ben Agande & Shaibu Inalegwu

ABUJA—The Acting President, Dr Goodluck Jonathan yesterday got the approval of the Senate to borrow the sum of $915 million (N138.165bn) from the World Bank, part of which would be used to finance the 2010 budget.

Though the senate approval was unanimous, some  members of the opposition All Nigeria Peoples Party, ANPP, cautioned that the utilization of the loan must be properly monitored.

Part to be used to fund 2010 budget
Out of the $915 million loan, $179 million (N27.02bn) will be used to fund the 2010 budget while the remainder would be used to tackle infrastrucral challenge in the area of power, roads and other critical sectors.

It would be recalled that the Acting President had sent a letter to the Senate seeking its approval to access the loan which he said will be used to fund development in critical sectors of the economy.

While commending the Acting President for his action, Senators who spoke during the considering of the request however, cautioned that the money must be used for the purpose for which it was procured.

Chairman of the Senate Committee on Media and Information, Senator Ayogu Eze, in his contribution said the loan will ginger development in Nigeria, through over flow of foreign direct investment into Nigeria.

According to him, the senate considers the request a worthwhile development as it will “support development of our energy sector, opening of the rural areas, and support the governors in providing infrastructure. We look back at it and consider it in order.”

According to him, “We should be cautious about the loan, it should not be about borrowing but about the utilisation. The areas that have been outlined for this loan are critical, urban and water transport, human capacity development and power infrastructure development projects across the country. We should ensure that this loan is frugally managed so that we do not slip into where we are coming from,” he said

ANPP senators skeptical about usage
But Senators, Ahmed Lawan and Mohammed Mohammed, both of the ANPP  who though supported the approval of the senate for the Federal Government to access the loan, were skeptical about its proper utilisation.

Senator Lawan said, “In as much as I support the loan, I want to know what exactly are those projects that the money will be used for. I think it will also be proper for the government to tell us the communities that will benefit from the loan in the rural areas development scheme.”


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