Buhari ignores critics, seeks House approval for $800m loan
Reps adjourn plenary till after induction programme
President Muhammadu Buhari, yesterday, sought approval of the House of Representatives for a fresh $800 million loan to finance the National Social Safety Network Programme (NSSNP).
The request was contained in a letter read by Speaker of the House, Femi Gbajabiamila, to lawmakers at the resumption of plenary. Recall that the President made similar request to the Senate, last week, a development that generated outcry.
In the letter, dated May 2, 2023 and addressed to Gbajabiamila, the President told lawmakers that the programme is intended to expand coverage of shock responsive safety net support among poor and vulnerable Nigerians.
According to him, “this will assist them in coping with the costs of meeting basic needs.” He said: “You may wish to note that the Federal Government, under the conditional cash transfer window of the programme, will transfer N5,000 per month to 10.2 million poor and low-income households for a period of six month, with a multiplier effect on about 60 million individuals. In order to guarantee the credibility of the process, digital transfers will be made directly to beneficiaries account and mobile wallets.”
The President noted that the NSSNP, being a social intervention programme, would stimulate activities in the informal sector, improve nutrition, health, education and human capital development of beneficiary households.
He added: “Given the above, I wish to invite the House to kindly approve an additional loan facility to the tune of $800 million, to be secured from the World Bank for the NSSNP, while hoping that this submission will receive expeditious consideration by the House.”
Minister of Finance and National Planning, Zainab Ahmed, had announced in April that the Federal Government would secure an $800 million World Bank loan, to be disbursed to about 50 million vulnerable Nigerians or 10 million households, as part of its subsidy palliatives measures.
She said the disbursement is in anticipation of planned removal of petroleum subsidy in June.
Meanwhile, the House has again, adjourned plenary till after the ongoing induction programme of the 10th National Assembly. The event is expected to end on Saturday, May 20.
The resolution was reached after a lawmaker, Ibrahim Isiaka, raised a Point of Order, relying on Order 6 (1) & (2), where he noted that his privilege as a member of the House was being breached due to the ongoing plenary that invariably denied him opportunity of attending the induction.