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More trouble looms for FG’s planned $29bn external loan

INDICATIONS have emerged that the bid by the Federal Government to borrow $29 billion from external sources may be stalled by some institutional lapses inherent in the system.

Already, some senators have pointed out that such loans and grants from external sources must be accompanied by a confirmation report by a substantive Auditor-General of the Federation before the funds are released.

According to the lawmakers, standards set by global financial institutions like the World Bank, the International Monetary Fund (IMF) and the African Development Bank (AfDB) required confirmation report from a substantive Auditor-General before the funds are disbursed to recipient countries.

Chairman, Senate Committee on Appropriation, Senator Danjuma Goje, had, during an interactive session with the Minister of Finance, Mrs Kemi Adeosun and the Minister of Budget Planning, Senator Udoma Udo Udoma, last week Thursday, expressed doubts over the workability of the loan request.

“I just hope the Federal Government will succeed in obtaining these loans with the situation on ground,” Senator Goje had stated at the session with the ministers.

Adeosun, however, assured the Senate committee that necessary steps were being taken by the Federal Government to ensure a smooth sail for the loans.

At present, Nigeria did not have a substantive Auditor-General of the Federation since the retirement of Mr Samuel Ukura in May.

The tenure of Mrs Florence Anyanwu, who is acting in that capacity, has also expired.

It will be recalled that the office of the Secretary to the Government of the Federation (SGF) had, in May, directed the Federal Civil Service Commission (FCSC) to set machinery in motion for the appointment of a new Auditor-General of the Federation.

The memo from the SGF, with reference 58365/S.3/11/82, was dated May 25, 2016 and signed by Mohammed Bukar, Permanent Secretary (General Services), office of the SGF.

The FCSC had, consequency upon this, shortlisted and forwarded names of three candidates for the position to President Muhammadu Buhari, in July.

President Buhari was said to have since forwarded the names to a seven-man committee set up to determine the best man for the job.