The Kaduna State Government has reacted to the rejection of a $350 million World Bank loan request by the Senate, saying no amount of intimidation will stop it from developing the state.
The Senate had on Thursday turned down the loan request on grounds that the total debt profile of Kaduna State cannot sustain further borrowing.
Kaduna State Commissioner of Finance, Suleiman Abdu Kwari who reacted on behalf of the government said the reasons given by the Senate were weak as it pandered to the ego of a few senators.
He said, “What the Senate displayed was elevating the ego of some of its members above the demands of public policy. As the three senators from Kaduna State spoke, it was apparent that they have put their personal frustrations above the right of the people of Kaduna State to decent investment in human capital development through good schools and hospitals, and better quality of life and accelerated economic growth through the provision of infrastructure.”
The commissioner said there are processes to be concluded at the National Assembly over the loan which involves voting for or against by each lawmaker before final rejection or acceptance of the loan is decided.
He said, “the National Assembly which I know very well, committees will be set up to look at the loan issue, and at the end of the day, the decision will be subjected to voting either for or against. In this case, no Senator or House Reps member has more than one vote.”
Kwari said the state government had gone through much to secure the approval of the National Assembly hence has not lost hope that it is achievable.
“No amount of blackmail, no amount of intimidation, no amount of misrepresentation, no what they do, there is no going back for us as long as moving the State forward is concerned.
“What we are saying is that our ministry of finance and ministry of budget and planning appeared before the House of Representatives committee and the Senate committee over the loan, and they did very well in their presentations before the committees. The papers are available for anyone to see.
“Apart from this, we did enough sensitization to all the stakeholders, especially members of the National Assembly from Kaduna State about the need for the loan.
“Sometimes, the governor travelled to Abuja to hold meetings with them on the need to obtain the loan for the development of the state,” he said.
The commissioner said the processes it passed through with the World Bank was like passing through the eyes of the needle to get the approval for the loan.
He said, “If we can pass through World Bank processes to get to this stage, then there is still hope to get the loan for the development of the state.
“There is no way you collect World Bank loan and divert it to another project because one of the conditions of the bank is that the loan must be used for the sole purpose it was collected.
“I think the rate at which the State is moving in terms of development, some people will be made politically irrelevant because there is a new dawn in Kaduna where the traditional way of compromising development in the state is dead and buried.
“The loan, if obtained, will be used to build community roads, primary school, secondary school, healthcentre, and the economy of such community will improve as other social activities will take place there.”