The Senate on Wednesday denied President Muhammadu Buhari’s $700 million loan request for a water project, just 24 hours after the Ministry of Health requested approval from the upper chamber of the National Assembly for a $200 million procurement of mosquito nets and malaria drugs.
Members of the Senate Committee on Local and Foreign Debt, who voted against President Muhammadu Buhari’s request for Sustainable Urban and Rural Water Supply, Sanitation, and Hygiene (SURWASH) under the Ministry of Water Resources, agreed to summon the Minister of Water Resources, Adamu Suleiman, to explain the loans and their current status.
The MPs, who took turns criticizing the loan for SURWASH (Sustainable Urban and Rural Water Supply, Sanitation, and Hygiene), urged the Ministry to provide an update on the loans received thus far for the Ministry’s Water Projects.
Senator Clifford Ordia, the Committee’s Chairman, stated that three distinct loans for various water projects have been granted.
Ordia went on to say that the Ministry has a “$450 million water project supported by the Africa Development Bank, and another $6 million loan under the Africa Development Bank’s integrated program for development, as well as the Gurara water project.”
“You need to tell us what you are doing with $700 million for water projects.”
Senator Obinna Ogba, who kicked against granting approval for the loan, noted that some loans were collected for water projects and yet no result, adding, “this loan, I don’t support this one again, enough is enough.”
Also kicking against the loan, Senator Ibrahim Oloriegbe asked what is the criteria for selecting benefiting states, adding that details provided by the Permanent Secretary of the Ministry is not enough to justify the loan.
Oloriegbe asked: “What is the criteria for selecting benefiting states, the details you are providing is not enough, what are the projects you want to do with $640 million and how many water are you going to do.
“You are giving each state $3 million to develop personnel capacity. Do we need loan to do this function? You mean all states can’t do that on their own?”
Senator Sani Musa while kicking against the loan, adviced the Committee to look at all the request and pick the one that is necessary.
The Niger Senator said: “We should look at this loan and take the ones that are necessary and we should abandon the ones that are not necessary. We need to look at it very critically.”
Senator Brima Enagi also protested against the request for $700 million loan for Sustainable Urban and Rural Water Supply, Sanitation and Hygiene (SURWASH).
Earlier, the Permanent Secretary of the Ministry of Water Resources, Mrs Esther Didi Walson-Jack, who was unable to give explanation to the previous loans approved for water projects, told the Committee that Sustainable Urban and Rural Water Supply, Sanitation and Hygiene (SURWASH) will last for five years.
She added that $640 million will be used for the Project while the $60 million will be used for capacity building.
The Permanent Secretary said that the proposal was negotiated with World Bank on April, 2022 and was approved at Federal Executive Council (FEC) on August 11, 2021.
States that will benefited from the $700 loan from World Bank are Delta, Ekiti, Gombe, Imo, Kaduna, Katsina, and Plateau with counterpart funding of $175 million.
The programme will deliver improved water sanitation and hygiene (WASH) services to 2,000 schools and health care facilities and assist 500 communities to achieve open defecation free status.