Fifteen members of the House of Representatives from Kaduna state have faulted the Senate’s rejection of the $350m World Bank loan request by the Kaduna State Government.
The Senate had on Thursday rejected the request by the State for the $350m loan, saying it would worsen the debt profile of the state.
The rejection was based on the recommendation of the Senate Committee on Local and Foreign Debt and the three senators from the state.
However, the caucus members of the House of Representatives from Kaduna State thought otherwise.
The caucus comprises of members drawn from the All Progressives Congress and the main opposition Peoples Democratic Party in the House of Representatives from the state.
The Leader of the House of Representatives Caucus, Datti Babawo, (representing Sabon Gari Federal Constituency,Kaduna State), insisted that all the fifteen members out of sixteen, actually approved the $350m for the state because of the enormous benefit the state would derived from the loan.
Babawo noted that the Senate’s rejection of the loan was purely political which would at the long run, do the state no good.
Speaking in an interview with newsmen on behalf of the fifteen other members on Tuesday in Kaduna, the lawmaker added that his colleagues supported the government’s plan to access the loan because they believe it would boost infrastructural development in the state.
He described the Senate’s rejection of the loan as not only political but a reflection of the abuse of power by the three senators from the state who are supposed to put the interest of the people above their personal interests.
He said: “On a monthly basis, the Governor, Malam Nasir el-Rufai whenever he comes to Abuja we always call for a meeting; the national assembly caucus, both the House of Representatives and the Senate; and tell about this loan. Initially, the three senators do attend the meeting but the two stopped coming, leaving only Senator Suleiman Hunkuyi to attending. But later, he too decided not to come.
“We as caucus of the House of Representatives, about 15 of us out of 16 have approved the loan because we were fully briefed by the governor. He told us why he is looking for the loan. He is so passionate with the issue of education. He told us how he would want to revive education.
“He had renovated more than 480 primary schools. When they found out that it was not easy after renovating over 480 schools. And the renovation was a full one; with chairs, toilet, water and many facilities and he had invited development partners, including telecommunication giant, the MTN, to assist.
“But you find out that it was not that easy for the government alone to renovate the over 800 primary schools in the state. That led the governor making proposal of $100m to the World Bank. But the World Bank was impressed and asked that after the renovation of primary schools, what about the secondary schools, tertiary the comatose industries and so on in the state.
“On this basis, he then made another proposal to increase this loan to $350m to Kaduna State. The governor truly briefed us. It was that submission that the Minister of Finance saw and took it to her own governor(Ogun State) because of the enormous benefit to her state.
“Her governor also applied for the same $350m. It was the same senate, condition and the same amount of money they approved but refused that of Kaduna State.
“It is strictly political. It has nothing to do with development. The interest of those who were opposed to it were strictly for their own personal and selfish reason and for the benefit of the people of this state.”
Babawo added, “People that don’t want to see the development of the education sector. The governor had planned to revived the education system. He has also made provision to build a comprehensive health centres for each of the 255 wards in the state with partnership with General Electronic of the USA.
“They are the ones to equip these hospitals. And he has comprehensive plans for road development and Metrolines within the Kaduna Metropolis and how to revive the comatose industries. So, it is exactly what has happened.
“That’s why we in the House of Representatives, are so enthusiastic and pass this without only one opposition, including the Peoples Democratic Party member. We sat, looked at all the agreement and we discovered that the loan is almost free. Even the interest is half percent and has a repayment period of 50 years. That’s why we supported the governor.
“Anybody who knows our governor knows him as somebody that us hard working and straight forward. He is somebody that is not given to pretence. Whatever he wants to do, he goes straight and do it. We are convince and we positive on our side and that is why we supported that the loan be obtain by Kaduna State. Why is it that all the states’ loan were approved with the exception of Kaduna State. It is politics.” He argued.