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Published On: Fri, Dec 21st, 2018

Debt payment: Senate makes U-turn, agrees with Buhari

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By Ikechukwu Okaforadi and Musa Adamu

Senate yesterday reversed itself over N34.315bn earlier approved as debt refund to Taraba State by the federal government for projects executed on its behalf in the state.
The upper legislative chamber had initially approved the sum of N34.3 billion as debt refund for Taraba state by the federal government during plenary penultimate Wednesday, December 5, 2018.
But at yesterday’s plenary, the Senate’s Deputy Chief Whip, Senator Francis Alimekhena (APC Edo North), rising under Order 52 and 53( 6) pointed out that the increase from N22.2 billion to N34.3 billion was due to additional road projects executed on behalf of the federal government by Taraba state government and submitted to Senate for approval.
He said the submission was however not captured by the House of Representatives which caused the mix up.
Alimekhena therefore urged the Senate to reverse its earlier decision to pay N34.31 billion to Taraba state and approve N22.25 billion.
Senate President, Dr Bukola Saraki, put the issue before the Senate and was approved by voice vote.
The new approval came barely 48 hours after President Muhammadu Buhari accused the National Assembly of inflating debts to be repaid by the federal government to deserving states from N487.842billion to N488.743billion , indicating difference of N890.5million.
The President said the National Assembly did not approve any reimbursement for four states : Bauchi, Delta, Kogi and Taraba, despite the fact that the Federal Executive Council, FEC, had approved reimbursement to the four states in the details sent to the lawmakers.

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