Senate Demands Details Of $1.5bn, €995m Agriculture Loans

The Senate Committee on Local and Foreign Debts on Tuesday asked the ministries of Agriculture, Finance and the Debt Management Office to provide details of the €995m and the $1.5bn foreign loans.

The panel specifically requested for details of the necessary approvals.

The Federal Government is seeking foreign loans  for mechanised farming and execution of critical infrastructure across the 36 states of the federation as part of measures to prevent the third wave of COVID-19 in the country.

However, the Senate panel said it was not satisfied with the explanation provided by both the Minister of Agriculture and Rural Development, Mohmmamed Nanono, and the Director-General of Debt Management Office, Patience Oniha, on their preparedness for the loans utilisation.

Specifically, the plans of action tabled before the committee by the Minister of Agriculture on the €995m loans being sought for agricultural mechanisation across the 774 local government areas in the country was faulted by virtually all the members of the committee headed by Senator Clifford Ordia.

The minister had in his submission said out of the 92 million hectares of cultivable land available in the country, only 34 million hectares were utilised now.

He said 780 service centres had been set up across the country for the mechanized farming.

He said, “The ministry is seriously in bilateral partnership with Brazil where 300 tractors are to be bought and imported for the project this year once the loan is approved.”

However, the committee members including Senator Uba Sani, Birma Enagi Adelere Oriolowo, Francis and Alimikhena asked the minister to ensure practical implementation of his beautiful plans.

On the $1.5bn loans being sought for the 36 states government and the Federal Capital Territory for execution of critical infrastructure against resurgence of COVID-19 pandemic, the committee chairman directed the DG DMO to furnish the panel with credit worthiness of the states which she couldn’t provide.

Consequently, the Committee resolved that the DG, DMO must furnish it with such information before approval could be given for the loan.

Suspends approval of N8.5bn 2021 FCT – IRS budget

The Senate Committee on the Federal Capital Territory, on Tuesday, suspended approval of the N8.5bn 2021 budget proposal tabled before it by the FCT – Inland Revenue Service.

The Senate Committee rejected the proposal of the FCT-IRS officials of N8.5bn 2021 budget made based on series of discrepancies in the proposals.

The agency was however directed to appear before the committee headed by Senator Abubakar Kyari on Thursday for a repeat of the budget presentation.

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