Business

Boko Haram: Senate To Consider Jonathan’s $1bn Loan Request Today — Enang

Chairman, Senate Committee on Rules and Business, Senator Ita Enang, said the Senate, will give priority to President Goodluck Jonathan’s request of $1 billion loan to fight against the Boko Haram insurgents and consider the most possible way of tackling the out-break of the dreaded Ebola Virus Disease, EVD.

President Jonathan had in the letter addressed to the Senate President, Senator David Mark, which was read a day before the vacation, explained that the loan would be used to upgrade equipment, training and logistics for the armed forces and other security agencies.

In the letter, he stated: “I would like to bring to your attention the urgent need to upgrade the equipment, training and logistics of our Armed Forces and Security Services to enable them more forcefully confront this serious threat.

“For this reason, I seek the concurrence of the National Assembly for external borrowing of not more than $1 billion including government to government arrangements for this upgrade.”

Enang disclosed these while fielding questions from journalists, yesterday, also stated that if the President decided to bring the report of the just concluded National Conference to the Senate, it would pass the normal legislative process.

He said it would expect President Jonathan to present to the National Assembly the Medium Term Expenditure Framework, MTEF, that will disclose his borrowing plans and the template for the 2015 budget

Senator Enang said among other items that would be given urgent priority was the funding of police reforms programme pending before the Senate and the Electoral Act as well as constitutional amendment.

He said: “Today, we can say that as we resume, we will consider the health challenge that is facing the country, the way it is just handled, the way forward, particularly the Ebola question, it cannot be unnoticed, it will be addressed by the Senate; then the request from Mr. President for $1 billion loan will be laid on the order paper for consideration by the senate.

“There was also another request by Mr. President for fund to fund the Police Reform Programme that is still pending before us; we will also put that forward for consideration by the Senate. As we resume, we are all conscious of the fact that elections will be held soon and the time table, the prioritisation of matters will take account of that.”

On how the Senate was expected to handle the report of the just concluded National Conference, he said: “When it comes from Mr. President we will address it in the normal legislative process, but we cannot speak on a matter which we are yet to receive because we do not know the form, the time and the character it will come, so we will only speak on it when we have received it. As at today, I am not aware that we have received it.”

Fielding question on what position the Senate would take on the insurgency in the North East, Senator Enang said the issue had become a national security concern and that the Senate and the National Assembly would tackle it with all seriousness, with dispatch, with decorum, with secrecy in the national interest.

“As we resume, this is September, we are likely under the law of the Fiscal Responsibility Act to receive from Mr. President, the revenue frame work under the Fiscal Responsibility Act and the revenue frame work will state how much is he likely to spend next year, how much is going to be from oil, how much on non-oil, what is going to be the exchange rate, what is going to be the barrel price of oil estimate, the template, that will be submitted before us.

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