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Amaechi’s comments on $30bn loan ill-informed, inciting — Senate

The Senate, on Wednesday, faulted the claim by the Minister of Transportation, Rotimi Amaechi, that the refusal of the legislature to approve the $29.96bn external borrowing plan of the Federal Government was frustrating some critical projects.

The upper chamber of the National Assembly specifically asked the minister to withdraw his statement, which it described as ill-informed, false and inciting.

Amaechi had, on Monday, during the North-Central Town Hall meeting of the Federal Government in Ilorin, Kwara State, said the National Assembly’s refusal to approve the request for foreign loan was frustrating  the construction of the Lagos-Ibadan and Ibadan-Ilorin-Minna-Kano rail lines.

But the Chairman, Senate Committee on Media and Public Affairs, Senator Aliyu Abdullahi, in a statement on Wednesday, stated that Amaechi’s comment “was not only false, misrepresenting and contradictory to available facts but that it also portrayed the minister as not in tune with the position of the government in which he is serving.”

He added, “As of today, the only request for approval from the executive for loan was the one dated January 27, 2017, and signed by the acting President, Prof. Yemi Osinbajo, seeking a ‘resolution of the National Assembly for the issuance of $1bn EuroBond in the international capital market for the funding of the 2016 budget deficit’ and we immediately granted the approval.

“Also, in the letter quoted above, the government mentioned the two rail lines cited by the minister as part of the projects for which the EuroBond will be utilised. So, we cannot understand what the grouse of Mr. Amaechi is.

“We view that statement, based on false and misinformed premise, strongly as a mere attempt to incite the people against the National Assembly. The minister should therefore withdraw that statement.

“Furthermore, the National Assembly will take up the matter with the acting President, Prof. Yemi Osinbajo.”

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