The House of Representatives has said it will only approve the request from the executive to borrow $4 billion and 710 million from bilateral and multilateral organisations if he furnishes it with details of the proposed loan. Recall that President Muhammadu Buhari is seeking the approval of the National Assembly to borrow another $4 billion ($4,054,476,863) and 710 million to fund the deficit in the 2021 budget. He also asked the lawmakers to approve grant components of $125 million.
But addressing the media on yesterday, spokesman for the House, Hon. Benjamin Okezie Kalu (APC, Abia) said the House has decided that it would only approve the loan on the condition that details of how it will be spent are provided. He said: “The presi-dent’s request of $4billion; we are looking at approving it on the condition that the details of its implementation are clearly spelt out. Of course, the loan request is in the MTEF but we need to do our job.” Asked if the House was not concerned with the mounting debt, Kalu responded: “We are as concerned as you are.
But Nigeria is not isolated from the global impact of COVID-19. Every economy in the world was impacted and the Nigerian economy was also affected. “The problem is not just getting a loan. It is what the loan is meant for – the borrowing plan. You have to come and convince us, the 360 constituencies. It is only when we are satisfied that we can approve the loan”.
He disclosed that the legislature is working hand-in-hand with the executive to shore up the revenue profile of the country because of the adverse effects of COVID-19 adding that the House would carry out a needs assessment of the 2022 budget before its appropriation.” Kalu said that the National Assembly and the Executive arm of government are partners in progress in the passage into law of the 2022 Budget and the parliament would critically analyse the needs assessment of the budget before approving the fiscal instrument. He noted and lamented that capital expenditure in the 2021 federal budget of N13.98 trillion is only 26% of the entire budget with an overall aggregate revenue projection of N7.6 trillion. The lawmaker also hinted that the House will soon commence the process of amendment of the establishment Acts of many MDAs who have consistently failed to remit the percentage of their internally generated revenues to the Federal Government’s coffers as provided by laws. He further said that the House would revisit the Electoral Act Amendment Bill 2021 which the lawmakers passed into law on July 16, 2021 when both chambers of the apex legislature the National Assembly embarked on annual recess