[News] : FG Begins Moves To Woo Senate Over Loan Logjam

The federal government may at the weekend begin moves to woo the Senate leadership over the loan impasse currently dominating the polity.

Sources said the presidency had gone into a full lobby mode to solve the embarrassing situation. While a section of the power brokers within the Villa would have preferred a hard-line approach, others believe there is a need to soft-pedal on the Senate.

President-Muhammadu-Buhari

The Senate president, Dr Bukola Saraki, has, however, denied insinuations that Senate’s rejection of President Muhammadu Buhari $29.9 loan is a reflection of the frosty relationship between the executive and the legislature, especially the Senate.

LEADERSHIP recalls that President  Buhari forwarded requests to the National Assembly to approve an external borrowing plan of $29.960billion meant for the execution of key infrastructural projects across the country between 2016 and 2018.

The president also made a request for virement of N180.8 billion in the 2016 budget for the provision of needed votes for some sectors.

Buhari, in the external borrowing plan, explained that targeted projects cut across all sectors with special emphasis on infrastructure, agriculture, health, education, water supply, growth and employment generation.

Other sectors, he said, included poverty reduction through social safety nets.

He explained further that the loan was necessary in view of the abysmal level of infrastructure deficit in the country.

However, the Senate, quickly threw out President  Buhari’s request  because, according to them, the letter conveying it was not accompanied by a borrowing plan.

Speaking to State House correspondents after observing the Jumat prayer at the Presidential Villa,  Saraki said the issue should not be politicised.

Answering questions on whether the negative treatment of the loan request had anything to do with the frosty relationship between the Senate and the executive, he said: “We should not look at that as a reflection of the relationship. Don’t let us politicize very important issues. As we said, this is work in progress.

“I came here to pray. I have finished praying and I just had a general felicitation with the president. It didn’t go beyond that, “he said.

Meanwhile, former governor of Kano State, Senator Musa Kwankwaso met with President Buhari at the presidential Villa.

LEADERSHIP WEEKEND recalls that Kwankwaso contested the APC presidential primaries along with Buhari and three others, and this was the first time he would be visiting the president since his inauguration on May 29, last year.

Kwankwaso, however, did not speak to the press after the meeting.

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