Kaduna government says it is eligible for loan requests

By Asma'u Halilu.

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Kaduna State government says it is within the sustainable debt level, hence the need to request the Buhari’s USD350m World Bank loan.

The State Commissioner for Finance, Suleiman Abdu disclosed to newsmen in Kaduna, while reacting to the Senate’s rejection on its request.

According to him, the World bank loan request was necessary to carry out major capital projects in the State across all sectors particularly the education sector which the Governor declared a state of emergency on.

“The Governor took an album which our budget and planning Ministry had compiled showing pictures of the school projects to the Federal Minister of Finance and subsequently our development partners, including the World Bank, thus the beginning of the World Bank loan conversation.

 The World Bank scrutinised the State and were convinced that we meet their standards, saying, they confirmed that the state has healthy fit credit ratings with stable outlooks, and then decided to support us,” he stated.

The Commissioner further stated that, after all necessary scrutinisation, on the 20th June, 2017 the World Bank announced its support for a budget facility of USD350 to the State.

Abdu expressed dismay over the Senate’s rejection because prior to now, some State Commissioners had appeared before the relevant committees of the Senate and House of Representatives where they presented detailed explanations for the rationale behind the purposes of the loan.

“Our delegates were commended for their presentation, saying, it is amazing that some of the legislators now claim that they are not aware of the justification for the loan,” Abdu emphasised.

“In fact, the lower house endorsed the loan and when our officials appeared before the Senate, no questions were asked, therefore, the excuse given on the floor of the Senate is base less”.

The Commissioner mentioned that, the creditor and the ratings agency had adjudged the State capable of sustaining the credit which has a ten year moratorium and a forty year repayment period.

He said that the next line of action is for the State to appear before the conference committee, adding that, it is hoped that the issue would be resolved.

It could be recalled that on Thursday, 29th March, 2018, the Senate rejected Kaduna State Development Policy Operation (DPO) in the sum of USD350 million as contained in the 2016 – 2018 External Borrowing (Rolling) Plan of President Muhammadu Buhari.

 

Lateefah Ibrahim