President of the Senate, Ahmad Lawan, yesterday, said Nigeria is a poor nation that has no option but borrow to fund infrastructure development.
He disclosed this when he visited the Presidential Villa, Abuja, where he met President Muhammadu Buhari behind closed doors.
Fielding questions from newsmen after the meeting, Lawan, however, assured that the legislature would “not be frivolous” in granting executive requests for loans.
He said such requests would be subjected to thorough scrutiny by the parliament before approval, to ensure the use of the loan is monitored via an oversight arrangement.
The lawmaker further indicated that there were other outstanding issues requiring the attention of the parliament including the need to consider the President’s request for a loan before the Assembly proceeds on its summer break.
“We also have the loan request from Mr. President. The request is to fund the 2021 Appropriation Act and, of course, this is not a new request. It’s something that we had passed in the MTEF and it’s something that when we passed the 2021 budget, we also passed that.
“So, it’s only to give the necessary legislative approval for the administration to go further and collect the funds.” he said
He said: “Whenever we have to approve any loan, we have to insist on the details of what projects will be funded by those loans. We’ll have to look at the conditions that are attached to the loans. They must be favourable conditions before we approve and we will be up to date with our oversight, to ensure that what we have approved is directly deployed and on those projects that we have also approved for implementation.”
On the Petroleum Industry Bill (PIB), Lawan explained: “At the moment, we are dotting the i’s and crossing the t’s on the PIB. And by the grace of God, our committees, the joint committees, will finish their work on it by the end of the week, hopefully. The reports would be laid on Tuesday in both chambers.”