*Says that’s why Nigerians call Senate rubber stamp
The Chairman, Senate Committee on Army, Senator Ali Ndume, Thursday, berated the All Progressives Congress (APC)-led Executive arm of government for excessive and increasing borrowing and expeditious approval of such requests by the National Assembly.
Ndume, who expressed his displeasure at a press briefing in Abuja, argued that borrowing was not a crime but observed that the thoroughness required for its approval was often not followed by the National Assembly.
He pointed out that this was why Nigerians were suspicious of the members of the nation’s apex legislative Assembly, and called the federal lawmakers “rubber stamp”.
The lawmaker, who represents Borno South Senatorial District, further noted that some of such requests hurriedly approved in the past were yet to be granted.
He explained further that in as much as loans or borrowings were required by the government to address the problem of infrastructural deficits facing the country, such loans should be cautiously considered in the face of debt servicing getting to 80 or 90%.
He said: “Borrowing is not a crime but when the rate of debt services increases which I understand is getting to 80% to 90% you have to be cautious; you have to look for alternatives.
“There are some loans that are not just absolutely necessary; there are some that can be delayed, there are some that can be negotiated or renegotiated in terms of conditions attached to them. I think this is what the media should analyse and see whether it is necessary.
“We have an infrastructural deficit in this country and all we hear is that when people come to Abuja and allocation is made you don’t see anything happening. For me, it is better to borrow that money and do the road instead of giving it out for people to collect it and go and spend it without accountability.
“What I am worried about again is the way the Senate is handling it. The Senate by definition is the house of deliberation, when things like this come we don’t just rush and approve it.
“Such requests are supposed to be looked at critically by crossing the Ts and dotting the Is. Ask questions; carry the people you are representing along and not sit down here in the National Assembly carrying out expeditious approvals which make the people we represent look at us with suspicion.
“They call us rubber stamps because we don’t carry people along. We rushed to approve certain borrowings which up till now, have not been granted by targeted creditors.”