Our stand on $29bn loan well intended – Chief Whip

Lawan Hamidu, Abuja.

The House of Representatives says the National Assembly’s stand on President Muhammadu Buhari’s request on external borrowing, was part of its constitutional responsibilities to make sure that such funds were utilized properly.

Speaking to Voice of Nigeria on the issue, the Chief Whip, AlHassan Ado Doguwa said the decision was not to undermine government but to ensure parliamentary and financial due diligence in governance.

“This external borrowing plan brought by Mr. President came in short of some requirements, and some of these requirements are fundamental because they have to do with the details of what Mr. President intends to do with the money.

What Mr. President submitted was read on the floor of the Senate. It was not even read on the floor of the House of Representatives because we operate as bi-cameral legislature. There is no point of the other chamber to take it, because they raised vital issues that have to do with details that were supposed to come along with President’s request,” Doguwa added.

Honourable Ado Doguwa
Honourable Ado Doguwa

The Chief Whip, who expressed the National Assembly’s readiness to debate and pass the President’s request, said the stand by Senate was in the best interest of the nation.

“It is not because of any ill-intention. It was not in any way intended to undermine the intention of government to borrow money, it is not also in any way intended to undermine government’s efforts to address some pressing issues regarding the economy.

It is only intended to observe parliamentary due diligence and financial due diligence and I think the Senate did the right thing.

They sent it back to the President through the Ministry of Finance and the Budget Office to go back and do it again in a way the request will come along with not only the details, with not only the things govt want to do with it,  but it has to come back with comprehensive explanation on when, where and how government intends to use the funds. 

These are the nitty-gritty that parliament want to have so that we can hold on to those facts when we go out for oversight,” the Lawmaker stressed.

On the Legislative-Executive relationship, Ado Doguwa said the two arms of government were working hand-in-hand to provide the much needed development to the country in line with government’s change agenda.

He said “I don’t think at a moment we have any problem with the Executive Arm, we are working in harmony, we are working in tandem with the reality of really working for Nigerian people to really make Nigeria attain greater height , especially as regards the economy.”

President Muhammadu Buhari had one month ago sent a borrowing plan request to the National Assembly, which suffered a set back at the Senate.