Buhari’s Chinese loan request suffers setback

President Muhammadu Buhari’s bid to get the National Assembly approval for the proposed $5.815 billion loan from China Exim Bank suffered setback in the Senate on Tuesday.

The Federal Government plans to use the loan to execute several rail projects in the country.

Following a motion by Senator Enyinnaya Abaribe (Abia South), the Senate resolved to invite the Minister of Transportation, Rotimi Amaechi, to explain why Southeast corridor rail line was omitted from the areas covered by the proposed loan.

The upper chamber, however, rejected a motion, urging the lawmakers to suspend consideration of the loan request pending correction of the oversight.

The motion entitled: “Outright Omission of Eastern Corridor Rail Line in the request for approval of Federal Government’s 2016-2015 External Borrowing (Rolling Plan)” was hotly debated on the floor of the Senate.

Abaribe, in his lead debate, recalled that on April 26 the Federal Government laid before the National Assembly a request seeking an approval for a loan of $5,851 billion from China Exim Bank to execute the modernisation of Lagos-Kano, Kano-Kaduna, Lagos-Ibadan and Lagos-Calabar rail segment.

He observed with dismay that the project covers only the western corridor of the country.

The Abia South lawmaker noted that the eastern section of the rail segment linking the Southeast to Northeast parts of the rail line is completely excluded from the request.

Abaribe urged the Senate to invite Amaechi to come and explain the reasons for the exclusion of the Eastern corridor from the proposed loan from the Chinese bank.

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