PDP governors bomb Garba Shehu over 'poorly worded' Presidential statement

•Lagos, Kano, Kogi, Enugu, C/River are beneficiaries under agro processing

29 states listed in agro-climatic project

Delta, Ekiti, Imo, Plateau to benefit in water segment

By Johnbosco Agbakwuru

The Presidency, yesterday, joined issues with critics of the multiple loans the Federal Government wants to obtain from  multilateral  institutions under the 2018-2021 medium term (rolling) external borrowing plan.

The borrowing plan had generated negative reactions from some quarters across the country after President Muhammadu Buhari requested the Senate to approve sovereign loans of $4.054 billion and 710 million euros as well as grant components of 125 million dollars for proposed projects.

According to the letter by the President, the sovereign loans will be sourced from the World Bank, French Development Agency (AFD), China-Exim Bank, International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD), Credit Suisse Group and Standard Chartered/China Export and Credit (SINOSURE).

Nigeria’s main opposition party, the Peoples Democratic Party, PDP, had cautioned the Senate against approving the request, saying it could set the country’s debt profile skyrocketing without a feasible repayment plan.

The President of the Middle Belt Leaders Forum, MBLF, Dr. Bitrus Pogu, accused the Buhari-administration of financial recklessness and noted that the future of the country was at stake given the administration’s penchant for taking foreign loans.

For the apex Igbo socio-cultural organisation, the Ohanaeze Ndigbo, the loan request was a disservice to the country.

Also, the National Publicity Secretary of Afenifere, Jare Ajayi, said the borrowings have become a source of serious concern.

But  in a statement, yesterday, the Presidency said a total of 15 projects, spread across Nigeria, are to be financed with the loans, while listing the states to benefit.

The statement by the Senior Special Assistant to the President on Media and Publicity, Mallam Garba Shehu, said a breakdown of the “Addendum to the Proposed Pipeline Projects for the 2018-2021 Medium Term (rolling) External Borrowing Plan,” shows that the World Bank is expected to finance seven projects including the $125 million grant for “Better Education Services for All”.

According to the statement, the Global Partnership for Education grant is expected to increase equitable access for out-of-school children and improve literacy in focus states.

It further stated that the grant, which will be implemented by the Federal Ministry of Education and the Universal Basic Education Commission (UBEC), will strengthen accountability for results in basic Education in Katsina, Oyo and Adamawa States.

Other projects to be financed by the World Bank are, the State Fiscal, Transparency, Accountability and Sustainability Programme for Results as well as the Agro-Processing, Productivity, Enhancement and Livelihood Improvement Support Project.

The statement said, “The benefiting states for the agro-processing project are, Kogi, Kaduna, Kano, Cross River, Enugu and Lagos with the Federal Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development as the implementing ministry.

“The objective of the project is to enhance agricultural productivity of small and medium scale farmers and improve value addition along priority value chains in the participating States.

“Similarly, the World Bank is  financing the Nigeria Sustainable Water Supply, Sanitation and Hygiene (WASH) project in Delta, Ekiti, Gombe, Kaduna, Katsina, Imo and Plateau States, for the next five years.

READ ALSO: Presidency lists projects, beneficiaries of external borrowing plan

“The project, when completed, is expected to improve rural water supply, sanitation and hygiene nationwide towards achieving Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) for water supply and sanitation by 2030.

“Under the external borrowing plan, the World Bank supported projects also include Nigeria’s COVID-19 Preparedness and Response Project (COPREP), under the supervision of the Federal Ministry of Health and Nigeria Centre for Disease Control (NCDC).

“The project, which has an implementation period of 5 years, will respond to threats posed by COVID-19 through the procurement of vaccines.

“Furthermore, no fewer than 29 States are listed as beneficiaries of the Agro-Climatic Resilience in Arid Zone Landscape project, which is expected to reduce natural resource management conflicts in dry and semi-arid ecosystems in Nigeria.

“The benefiting states for the project to be co-financed by World Bank and European Investment Bank (EIB) are: Akwa Ibom, Borno, Oyo, Sokoto, Kano, Katsina, Edo, Plateau, Abia, Nasarawa, Delta, Niger, Gombe, Imo, Enugu, Kogi, Anambra, Niger, Ebonyi, Cross River, Ondo, Kaduna, Kebbi, Jigawa, Bauchi, Ekiti, Ogun, Benue, Yobe and Kwara.”

Continuing, it said, “The World Bank is also funding the Livestock Productivity and Resilience project in no fewer than 19 States and the Federal Capital Territory (FCT).

“The China EXIM Bank is expected to finance the construction of the branch line of Apapa-TinCan Island Port, under the Lagos-Ibadan Railway modernisation project.

“The French Development Agency will finance two projects, which include the National Digital Identity Management project and the Kaduna Bus Rapid Transport Project.

“The digital identity project will be co- financed with World Bank and EIB.

“The Value Chain Development Programme to be financed by IFAD and implemented in Anambra, Benue, Ebonyi, Niger, Ogun, Taraba, Nasarawa, Enugu and Kogi States will empower 100,000 farmers, including over 6,000 and 3,000 processors and traders respectively.

“The loan facility to be provided by European ECA/KfW/IPEX/APC will be spent on the construction of the Standard Gauge Rail (SGR) linking Nigeria with Niger Republic from Kano-Katsina-Daura-Jibiya-Maradi with branch to Dutse.

“The specific project title, Kano-Maradi SGR with a branch to Dutse, has an implementation period of 30 months and will be implemented by the Federal Ministry of Transport.

“The Chinese African Development Fund through the Bank of China is expected to provide a loan facility of $325 million for the establishment of three power and renewable energy projects including solar cells production facility Phase 1 & II , electric power transformer production, Plants 1, II, III and high voltage testing laboratory.

“The National Agency for Science and Engineering Infrastructure (NASENI) will implement the project aimed at increasing local capacity and capability in the development of power and renewable energy technologies and infrastructure.

“Credit Suisse will finance major industrialisation projects as well as micro, small and medium enterprises schemes to be executed by the Bank of Industry while SINOSURE and Standard Chartered Bank will provide funds for the provision of 17MW Hybrid Solar Power infrastructure for the National Assembly (NASS) complex.

“The project, with an implementation period of five years, is expected to address “NASS power supply deficit and reduce higher overhead burdensome cost of running and maintaining fossil fuel generators (25MW installed capacity) to power the assembly complex.”

Vanguard News Nigeria

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