The Nigerian Senate has taken another aim at the Executive arm of government after lawmakers turned down President Muhammadu Buhari’s $30B loan request on Tuesday, November 1.
In a letter addressed to both chambers of the National Assembly, Buhari had written:
“I wish to refer to the above subject and to submit the attached draft of the Federal Government 2016-2018 External Borrowing (Rolling) plan for consideration and early approval by the National Assembly to ensure prompt implementation of projects”.
However, in a voice vote on Tuesday, Senators sent back the document to the Presidency because it contained no attachment of how the money was going to be spent if approved.
The Senate also slammed the Executive for its poor management of the N500B earmarked for the administration’s social security scheme.
Senate Majority leader Ali Ndume was left shell-shocked after the bill was flatly rejected by his peers.
“I was shocked by the decision; my colleagues surprised me today. I was not expecting that”, said Ndume who also said the proposal was knocked out on the basis of technicalities.
Ndume blamed himself for not doing enough to persuade his colleagues to have the loan request approved.
Ita Enang who is the President’s Senior Special Assistant on National Assembly matters; and government spokesperson Lai Mohammed, have said the Executive will re-submit the proposal, this time with all the details absent from the first.
It has been an embarrassing couple of hours for the Executive, Presidency sources have told Pulse.
But it does appear as though the Senate loves to strike a man even when he’s down.
During a ChannelsTV program on Thursday monitored from the Pulse Editorial Room, Senate spokesperson, Aliyu Abdullahi, doubled down on the Executive.
Abdullahi stopped short of calling the Executive ‘lazy’ for a shoddy loan request.
Nothing was attached in the document from the Executive even though it read “find attached”, lamented Abdullahi.
Abdullahi thereafter called out the President’s aides for the rejection.
“This is the reality unfortunately. We have to rethink position given to certain persons and people who are not competent should step aside”, Abdullahi said in apparent reference to Budget and Planning Minister Udo Udoma and legislative aide Enang.
There was more from Abdullahi in a rant seen round the country.
“What is the Chief of Staff doing? What is the SGF (Secretary to Government of the Federation) doing?,” the Senate spokesperson asked.
It won’t be the first time the Legislature would be blaming the Executive for sending poor financial proposals across.
The National Assembly had blamed the Executive for submitting two versions of the same budget document earlier in the year.
The nation would later discover that the budget document was ridden with “illicit insertions” in the words of suspended lawmaker Abdulmumin Jibrin.
Days later, “budget padding” found its way into the Nigerian administrative lexicon.