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Update: Senate approves World Bank loan for Edo

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The Senate on Thursday approved the $75 million (N14.7 billion) World Bank loan for the Edo State Government. The request was tabled before the upper legislative body by President Muhammadu Buhari few weeks ago.

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The approval was sequel to the adoption of the report of the Senate’s ad hoc committee on Local and Foreign ‎Debts.

The lawmakers said the approval was in recognition of the fact that the request was part of a N44.1billion ($225million) total credit facility for the state which the Senate had already approved in 2012.

While presenting the report, chairman of the ad hoc committee, Senator Kabiru Gaya, explained that funds from the loan facility will be used to finance key programmes to stimulate internally generated revenue in the state.

It will also be used to develop key infrastructure that will attract private investment and increase employment opportunities.

Gaya said, “It is worthy to note that World Bank normally presents strict criteria for intending borrowing organisation to fulfill as a pre-requisite ‎ to assessing the facility.

“It is gratifying to note that Lagos and Edo States are the only sub national government in Nigeria to meet the stringent conditions of the World Bank to qualify for the Development Policy Operation.

“Edo State has reasonably justified the borrowing and has acceptable debt sustainability level and therefore eligible to borrow.”

Opposition from Senator Uroghede Matthew (PDP, Edo South), who expressed reservations about the loan was could not sway the legislators.

According to him, he had received over 2,000 text messages from his constituents asking that the loan request be rejected.

Senator Matthew argued that Nigeria’s Debt Management Office had ranked Edo State as the 4th most indebted state in the country, stressing that granting the loan would increase the state’s debt burden.

The approval carried an overwhelming voice vote from Senators.

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