The three senators from Kaduna state were driven by their personal frustration in rejecting the $350m World Bank loan sought by Kaduna state government, rather than the people’s right to better quality of life and infrastructure, the state government has said.
The Senate had on Thursday turned down the loan request, saying that with the current total debt profile of Kaduna state, any new borrowing will erode economic viability of the state, but the state government in its reaction said on Friday in Kaduna that no amount of blackmail, intimidation can stop it from obtaining the loan and ensuring that the state is moved forward.
Speaking through the State Commissioner for Finance, Suleiman Abdu Kwari, Kaduna state government said there was still hope of getting the World Bank loan because the processes are yet to be concluded at the National Assembly, as they would take it to a conference committee of equal number of senators and Representatives where the issue will be debated again and the outcome taken to the floors for each lawmaker to vote before finally accepting or rejecting the loan.
The Finance Commissioner added that apart from waiting for final leg of decision of the National Assembly, the State government, “will continue to lobby members of National Assembly.” To this end, he said no amount of intimidation and blackmail by lawmakers can dissuade the state government from accessing the loan for development.
According to Governor Nasir el-Rufai, the state government intend to use the loan, which has 10 years moratorium and pay back period of 40 years, to rehabilitate primary and secondary schools, build and equip hospitals and build roads across the state, adding that Kaduna state government is currently building N7 billion road network in Southern parts of the state.
“No amount of blackmail, intimidation, misrepresentation, no matter what they do, there is no going back for us as long as moving the State forward is concerned. What we are saying is that our ministry of finance and ministry of budget and planning appeared before the House of Representatives committee and the Senate committee over the loan, and they did very well in their presentations before the committees. The papers are available for anyone to see.
“Apart from this, we did enough sensitization to all the stakeholders, especially members of the National Assembly from Kaduna state about the need for the loan. Sometimes, the Governor travel to Abuja to hold meetings with them on the need to obtain the loan for the development of the state. We know the processes of the World Bank we passed through, it was like passing through the eyes of the needle to get the approval for the loan. If we can pass through World Bank processes to get to this stage, then there is still hope to get the loan for the development of the state.
“There is no way you collect World Bank loan and divert it to another project because one of the conditions of the bank is that the loan must be used for the sole purpose it was collected. I think the rate at which the state is moving in terms of development, some people will be made politically irrelevant because there is a new dawn in Kaduna where the traditional way of compromising development in the state is dead and buried.
“The loan, if obtained, will be used to build community roads, primary school, secondary school, health centre, and the economy of such community will improve as other social activities will take place there, Kwari stated.