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NASS will consider Buhari’s loan request – Lawan

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Lawan. Photo: TWITTER/DRAHMADLWAN/TOPEBROWN

The President of the Senate, Ahmad Lawan, has said that the National Assembly would consider President Muhammadu’s Buhari’s loan request for construction and rehabilitation of rail lines across the country.

Lawan who stated this on Friday while fielding questions from newsmen in Abuja said approving such loans would help fund critical infrastructure across the country.

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While noting that Nigeria’s borrowing plan “is a necessary burden”, Lawan added that for the country to be adequately developed, the National Assembly was considering two loan requests of the Federal Government.

“Before us in the Senate are two requests from the executive arm of government; one is to construct and rehabilitate rail lines to the different parts of the country.

“The other one is to boost the economy directly; investments into agriculture and other real sectors of the economy including mining,” he said.

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He noted that the loan requests also included a request for loans guaranteed by the Federal Government for some states.

“This is because the N32 trillion you are talking about is not all Federal Government debts. Part of it belongs to the states, only that the Federal Government gives the guarantee.

“Yet for us to develop the country we need to build infrastructure. What do we do to raise funds; there are several ways we are going to raise taxes; can we afford that in the current situation to raise taxes for us to fund the building of our infrastructure.

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“So, what are the options. Definitely, that option is out (to raise taxes).

“In fact, what we have is not the kind of infrastructure that will boost our economy. So we can’t raise taxes, the option is to borrow and to borrow responsibly,” Lawan stated.

The President of the Senate further explained that before borrowing, the government has to first identify the essential infrastructure that could grow the economy.

On Twitter ban, Lawan said “the Minister of Information and Culture, Alhaji Lai Mohammed, had informed Nigerians that the government and managers of Twitter were finding ways to resolve the matter.

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”That is what we heard. And our belief is that Nigeria needs Twitter just as much as Twitter needs Nigeria. Our expectation is that with engagement between the Federal Government and Twitter, we will resolve the dispute between Twitter and our government.”

On better remuneration for journalists, Lawan said that “If you feel very strongly, about this you can sponsor a bill to the National Assembly.

“Also remember that most of the media houses are privately-owned. But still, if you feel you are not getting a good deal, you can talk to our Committee on Ethics, Privileges and Public Petitions if your employer is not giving you a good wage. And of course, you know the risk.

“And I can assure you that the National Assembly will look into it. I’m not sure that it will be passed but we will consider it,” he said.

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