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Lawmakers Kick As Buhari Requests For $700 Loan For Water Project

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A Senate Committee on Wednesday refused to approve a loan request by President Muhammadu Buhari’s for the Sustainable Urban and Rural Water Supply, Sanitation and Hygiene project.

The development came 24 hours after the Ministry of Health appeared before the committee to seek approval for $200m for the procurement of mosquito nets and malaria medicines.

The lawmakers said that the different loans had previously been approved for the same project under the Ministry of Water Resources.

The members of the domestic and foreign loan committee demanded an account of previous loans collected for water projects in the ministry.

The Chairman of the committee, Senator Clifford Ordia, said, “$450m to the ministry for water project being financed by the Africa Development Bank (AFDB) and another $6million loan under the Integrated Programme for Development also financed by the Africa Development Bank; and the Gurara Water Project. You need to tell us what you are doing with $700m for water projects.”

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“For this particular loan, I won’t give my support. Enough is enough.”

Senator Ibrahim Oloriegbe also demanded the criteria for selecting the benefiting states.

He said, “What are the criteria for selecting the benefiting states? The details you are providing is not enough; what are the projects you want to do with $640million and how many water are you going to do?”

“You are giving each state $3m to develop personnel capacity. Do we need loan to do this function? Do you mean all states can’t do that on their own?”

Senator Sani Musa, while also rejecting the loan request, advised the committee to look at all the request and pick the one that was necessary.

Defending the loan request, officials of the Ministry of Water Resources led by the Permanent Secretary, Mrs Esther Didi Walson-Jack, explained that the Sustainable Urban and Rural Water Supply, Sanitation and Hygiene would last for five years.

She said, “$640million will be used for the Project while the $60million was for capacity building. The proposal was negotiated with World Bank in April 2022 and was approved by the Federal Executive Council on August 11, 2021.

“States that would benefit from the $700 loan from World Bank are Delta, Ekiti, Gombe, Imo, Kaduna, Katsina, and Plateau with counterpart funding of $175m.

“The programme will deliver improved water sanitation and hygiene services to 2,000 schools and health care facilities and assist 500 communities to achieve an end to open defecation free status.”

About Author

Ife Ogunfuwa is an award-winning reporter who is versed in reporting business and economy, technology, gadgets reviews, telecoms, tax, and business policy review, among others. She loves telling stories behind the numbers. She has professional certifications in business and financial reporting. You can reach her via – [email protected]

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