12 December 2012

Nigeria: External Borrowing - Governors to Confront National Assembly, Finance Ministry

Abuja — THE thirty-six state governors under the aegis of Nigeria Governors' Forum, NGF, have concluded arrangements to confront the Senate and the Ministry of Finance on external borrowing on the revised proposed pipeline projects as contained in the Medium Term Plan of 2012 to 2014.

The governors who rose from a meeting at the Rivers State Governor's Lodge, Asokoro, Abujain the early hours of yesterday, said the move to meet with the lawmakers became imperative to enable further deliberation on the issue.

A communiqué read by Rivers State governor and Chairman of the forum, Chibuike Amaechi, said the governors also carried out an end of year review of its polio eradication initiative across the states of the federation.

The NGF also emphasized the centrality of routine immunization as a sustainable means of eradicating polio and the need to engage stakeholders from local communities in the campaign, even as the body noted changes in the demography of incidences and resolved that states should put necessary incentives to motivate vaccinators for better performance and better information sharing mechanism of good practices across states.

The forum also emphasized the centrality of routine immunization as a sustainable means of eradicating polio and the need to engage stakeholders from local communities in the campaign.

It would be recalled that the Minister of State, Finance, Yerima Ngama and some state commissioners of finance had before the Senate defended their request for an external loan of $7,905.69 billion. State commissioners, in particular were, on Monday, with the Senate Committee on Local and Foreign Debts.

President Goodluck Jonathan had also sent a letter to the Senate, seeking its approval to borrow $7.9 billion for 2012-2014 pipeline projects.

The loan named Medium-Term External Borrowing Plan (Revised), which spans 2012 to 2014, will enable the states fund specific developmental projects.

According to some of the governors who were at the meeting, the brainstorming exercise with the Senate and the ministers will be fruitful and it will be a way forward to clear some issues associated with the Medium-Term External Borrowing Plan.

Speaking with journalists at the end of the meeting, Governor Peter Obi ofAnambraStatewho noted that borrowing for development purposes was right, stressed that it would be wrong when borrowing was done for consumption.

Also speaking, Governor Kayode Fayemi of Ekiti State explained that the Medium-Term External Borrowing Plan was in stages and that the Ministry of Finance and other relevant bodies had cleared some issues on it.

He said: "The National Assembly and the Senate have been sitting on this and some issues have come up and that is what we are trying to clear."

Governors of Abia, Ebonyi, Anambra,Enugu, Imo, Borno, Taraba, Bauchi, Gombe, Akwa Ibom,Kaduna, Jigawa,Kano, Kebbi, Zamfara, Kogi attended the meeting.

Others were governors ofNiger, Ondo, Adamawa, Kwara,Lagos, Ogun, Ekiti and Yobe states.

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