The Senate on Thursday approved President Muhammadu Buhari’s request for a $75m World Bank loan for Edo State.
The Senate gave the approval following the consideration of the report of the Senator Kabiru Gaya-led ad-hoc committee, which worked on the loan request.
The committee in its report urged the Senate to approve the loan, stating that the World Bank had already considered the state ready for it.
The loan is the second tranche of a $225m Development Policy Operation loan approved for the state by the World Bank.
Sen. Adamu Aliero (APC, Kebbi Central), in his contributions, said that Edo State had qualified for the loan, because it had met the conditions set by the World Bank.
He noted that the loan would help increase the internally generated revenue of the state and, therefore, urged the Senate to approve it. Aliero also enjoined other states that have the capacity to borrow, to go ahead and take such loans, as long as they could utilize the funds judiciously.
Contributing to the debate, the Senate Leader, Ali Ndume (APC, Borno Central), encouraged other states with genuine needs to take advantage of such low interest loans, rather than patronising commercial banks.
“The first tranche of this borrowing plan had already been approved by the senate and the World Bank has strict borrowing conditions – which the state has met. I, therefore, move that we approve this loan”, he said.
However, a PDP Senator representing Edo South, Matthew Urhoghide, while supporting the approval of the loan, expressed the misgivings of the people of the State about it.
According to Senator Urhoghide, the day the Senate received the letter from Mr. President, he got over 2000 text messages and emails from people of the state out rightly rejecting any loan approval for the state.
He argued that although the loans would bring about more gains for the people of the state, there was need to accede to the yearnings of the Edo of the state and verify their misgivings before approving the loan request.
The senator added that the first tranche of the loan was used for projects that were not visible, and urged that the second tranche should be judiciously utilized to clear the doubts of the people.
“I am not standing to oppose what has been granted by Mr President or the desire of the state government, I am here to look at some of the views expressed by the people on the things that have been done with first tranche. We need to verify some of the claims that has been made, we need to look at the report that has been given by the World Bank, if they are satisfactory”, he said.
The senate, however, approved the loan though with a tangible number of dissenting voices.