Daily Champion (Lagos)

15 February 2012

Nigeria: Jonathan Seeks to Borrow U.S.$7.9 Billion From Islamic Bank

Photo: Leadership
Oil Pipeline.

Abuja — Present Goodluck Jonathan yesterday asked the Senate to give go ahead to borrow another $7.9billion (N1.3trillion) from the World Bank to fund what he called 'pipeline projects already at various stages of completion.

But Senate in swift reaction yesterday however said the planned borrow does not mean that Nigeria is broke.

President Jonathan in a two page letter to the Senate president senator David Mark read on the floor of the senate yesterday said he intend to spread the loan to three years at $2.4billion each year.

The letter which was made available to journalists yesterday read: "I wish to inform you that a number of special initiatives were designed to put the economy back on track through growth and employment activities geared towards the implementation of the transformation agenda.

"The loan would be sourced from world bank, African Development Bank and Islamic Bank, Exim Bank of China and India line credits. The pipeline projects are part of the external borrowing plane Medium Term for 2012 and 2014)".

Meanwhile, Senate has allayed the fears that the planned borrowing was a sign of distress.

Chairman of the Senate committee on information, Senate Enyinnaya Abaribe yesterday said there was no sign that Nigeria was broke.

Also yesterday he said the call for the convocation of Sovereign National Conference (SNC) as being asked by some Nigerians would be a duplication of the work of the National Assembly.

He said all those agitations can also be addresses by the lawmakers.

Similarly, Senate yesterday stood down a bill for an Act to establish National Agency for the promotion and preservation of local languages in Nigeria.

The decision of the Senate to stand down the bill was sequel to the augment of Senator Eyinanya Abribe who explained to the Senate that there is already existing agency in Abia State.

But, Senator Gbenga Ashafa who sponsored the bill explained that intention of the bill is to ensure that the Agency cut across 774 local governments in the country adding that the bill if passed into law has the capacity to promote indigenous languages across the federation.

Ashafa said: "The central aim of this bill is not to replace English as our lingua franca but to preserve our collective heritage and not to be accused of indirectly assassinating our cultural inheritance. It is simply bill that seeks to establish an agency for the preservation and promotion of our indigenous languages in order to implement and harmonize the overall educational and cultural policies of the Nigerian state."

He explained that if the bill is enacted it will encourage the speaking of indigenous languages , stimulate publication of books , production of films, documentaries and educational materials in those languages and put in front burner the need to respect the cultural heritage.

In his words, "our indigenous languages are part of our cultural languages and if we do not do something about their preservation with the massive push for universal basic education which has English as pivot, we stand danger of losing some of these languages.

"To compound things we all know that most of our children do not speak anything other than English or pidgin these days, not even three major languages are spoken these days in Average Nigerian Home."

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