$30bn Loan: Presidency Desperate, Woos Saraki, Dogara

By Ikenga Chronicles November 15, 2016

$30bn Loan: Presidency Desperate, Woos Saraki, Dogara

The Presidency has again taken steps to woo the National Assembly and get it to approve its request to borrow $30 billion to fund the 2017 and 2018 budgets. To get the cooperation of the National Assembly, the Vice President, Yemi Osinbajo held a meeting with the President of the Senate, Bukola Saraki and the Speaker of the House of Representatives, Yakubu Dogara on Monday.

Also at the meeting were the Secretary to the Federal Government(SGF)Babachir Lawal and the governors of Ogun, Adamawa, Zamfara, Osun, Imo and Niger states.

The National Assembly has been embroiled in a game of fits over the loan request and the 2016-2018 Medium Term Expenditure Framework(MTEF) submitted to it by the executive.

The Senate had rejected the loan request, insisting that the presidency must provide all the necessary details before it could be considered. Also, the legislature threw out the MTEF, describing it as empty.

Fazed by the growing controversy and the hard line posture of the legislature, President Muhammadu Buhari, in a rare gesture, met with Saraki three times within a week, in a bid to secure a soft landing. Saraki, after one of the meetings with Buhari, told reporters that the issue of the foreign loan was work in progress, insisting that the rejection of the loan request was not a reflection of the relationship between the executive and the legislature.

Recall that the relationship between the presidency and the leadership of the National Assembly has been less than cordial since the emergence of Saraki and Dogara as Senate President and Speaker respectively, against the wishes of the ruling party, APC.

The current prosecution of Saraki at the Code of Conduct Tribunal(CCT)and his aborted trial alongside his deputy, Ike Ekweremadu for forgery over the Senate Rules 2015, contributed in worsening the relationship between both arms of government.

However, Saraki, while speaking with State House Correspondents, said the meeting leaders of the National Assembly had with Osinbajo and some state governors was meant to ensure good governance and collaboration.

Saraki said: “I am sure the Vice-President will issue a statement. But nothing of great alarm. It (the meeting) was all for good governance, inclusion and collaboration with all arms. The states are here, National Assembly executives just came up with ideas on how to make things work even better, that’s all.”

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