The Senate has summoned nine ministers to defend their ministry’s component of the $22.7billion external loan request of the Federal Government.
The summon was following a complaint by the Chairman of the Senate Committee on Local and Foreign Debt, Senator Clifford Ordia, that the panel cannot meet the two-week timeline to submit their report on the loan because nine ministries have failed to defend their proposals,
President of the Senate, Ahmad Lawan, who spoke on Wednesday, said the affected ministers must appear before the Senate Committee on Local and Foreign Debt on or before Monday next week.
According to Senator Ordia, out of the 18 ministries said to be beneficiaries, only 8 have appeared before the committee.
Some of the ministers who have complied and appeared before the Senate Committee to defend their requests include, Minister of Information and Culture, Lai Mohammed, Minister of Works and Housing, Raji Fashola, Minister of State for Transportation, Gbemisola Saraki and the Minister of the Federal Capital Territory, Mohammed Bello. Kaduna, Katsina and Kogi State Governments also appeared before the committee.
Senator Ordia said, “I think it is important to note that approving a loan of over $22billion is a very serious matter.”
He further added that “We need a serious explanation from the Ministries to enable us to submit our report to the Senate.”
However, he noted that by reason of the delayed appearance of the ministers, the committee will need two weeks to enable them to make a submission to the Senate.
According to him, the ministers yet to appear before the Senate include, Minister of Education, Adamu Adamu, Power, Sale Mamman, Niger Delta Affairs, Senator Godswill Akpabio, Humanitarian and Disaster Management, Sadiya Umar Farouk, Water Resources, Engr. Suleiman Adamu, Health, Osagie Ehanire, Communications and Digital Economy, Dr Isa Ali Ibrahim Pantami, and Agriculture, Sabo Nanono.
Meanwhile, Lawan advised that the Senate is committed to ensuring that such important issues like the foreign loan request of the executive need to be treated with seriousness by both sides.
“The Senate is making every possible effort to ensure that we understand the request,” he said.
Hence, he added that the Senate needs details and information so as to take the appropriate decisions as quickly as possible.
He further urged the defaulting ministers to appear before the committee before or on Monday.
“I believe this is an advice that will be taken very seriously by the agencies you have just read out,” he concluded.