The Senate has called on the Minister of Transport, Rotimi Amaechi to immediately withdraw his comment that the Senate was delaying infrastructure development.
Rotimi Amaechi had during a town hall meeting in Ilorin, Kwara state on Monday said that the construction of the Lagos-Ibadan and Ibadan-Ilorin-Minna -Kano rail lines was being delayed by the refusal of the National Assembly to sign the loan request by the Federal Government.
According to him, the $7.5 billion loan which the Federal Government had secured for a standard rail gauge from Lagos to Kano was part of the $30 billion loan yet to be approved by the National Assembly.
He told the people to join the Federal Government in appealing to the Senate to approve the loan.
However, the Senate in a statement signed by its spokesperson, Sen, Aliyu Sabi, said it was not delaying any construction and that the Minister told a lie.
According to the Senate spokesman, the only loan that is being requested by the government for approval is the issuance of USD 1 Billion EuroBond in the international capital market for the funding of the 2016 budget deficit.
“As of today, the only request for approval from the executive for loan was the one dated January 27, 2017 and signed by acting President Professor Yemi Osinbajo seeking a ‘resolution of the national assembly for the issuance of USD 1 Billion EuroBond in the international capital market for the funding of the 2016 budget deficit’ and we immediately granted the approval.
“Also, in the letter quoted above, the government mentioned the two rail lines cited by the Minister as part of the projects for which the EuroBond will be utilised. So, we cannot understand what the grouse of Amaechi is.
“As a former speaker of a State House of Assembly, we believe that a Minister like Amaechi should always check his facts and refrain from making unguarded and inciting remarks against the legislature.”
Sabi, therefore, urged the minister to withdraw such indicting statement capable of bringing division among the arms of government.
Last week, the Minister had asked the National Assembly to approve $1.5 billion loan from China so the ministry can commence work on the Lagos-Ibadan Rail Line project.
Appearing before the Senate Committee on Land Transport, Mr. Rotimi Amaechi had told them that the China Exim Bank was ready to loan Nigeria $1.5 billion for the Lagos-Ibadan rail line, but approval was needed before any agreement is signed.
Also at the town hall meeting in Illori, Mr. Amaechi urged Nigerians to wait until the end of four years before judging the All Progressives Congress (APC) led government, as the party never promised to fix Nigeria’s problem within a year.
We did not promise you that those challenges will be solved in one year or you would have given us a one-year mandate. But you gave us four years mandate, so wait until the end of four years before you can conclude that we have not done well.”