MTEF: Reps blame Presidency over non-presentation of details of borrowing plan

MTEF: Reps blame Presidency over non-presentation of details of borrowing plan

…task CBN on withdrawal of mutilated currency from circulation

The House of Representatives on Thursday disclosed that the Presidency I get to to provide details of the $29.6 billion borrowing plan for 2017-2019 transmitted to the National Assembly last year.

The Senate and House via separate resolution passed in November 2016, to stem the consideration of President Muhammadu Buhari’s request down pending the submission of details.

Recall that the South-East caucus in the House of Representatives also protested over alleged exclusion of the geopolitical zone from the developmental projects proposed in the $29.6 billion for 2017-2019 borrowing plan despite infrastructural deficit bedevilling the zone.

Adeyinka Ajayi, Chairman, House Committee on Aids, Loans and Debt Management disclosed this during a media chat with Legislative Correspondents in Abuja, assured that Nigeria’s foreign debt stock has hit 20 percent mark.

He however noted that Nigeria is doing well in terms of debt ratio to Gross Domestic Product (GDP), adding that the 25 percent threshhold set by Debt Management Office (DMO) in collaboration with other relevant agencies is lower than the 40 percent set for other countries peered with Nigeria.

While reacting to the utilisation of the funds borrowed, the Osun lawmaker who expressed reservation over the country’s performance, lamented over the high unemployment rate, infrastructural deficit.

Ajayi explained that the three-year borrowing plan was not confined to year 2017 but captured the country’s  borrowing plan that will help in addressing the infrastructural gap.

Also at plenary, the House urged the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) to urgently withdraw all the mutilated currency notes in circulation and replace same with new ones.

The House also urged the National Orientation Agency to carry out a sustained public sensitization and enlightenment programme to educate Nigerians on the need to handle the naira notes cautiously with care.

The resolutions followed a motion moved by Rep. Adekola Alexander (PDP- Ekiti).

Moving the motion, Alexander noted that the alarming rate of mutilated currency notes in circulation had become a national embarrassment.

He added that banks were issuing torn, mutilated and unhygienic currency notes through ATM machines and across the counter.

“Observe that in spite of the arrest and subsequent prosecution of the culprits, there is still an existing cartel in both the CBN and commercial bank who marks brisk business recycling old naira notes meant for destruction.

“Thereby enriching their bank accounts , acquiring properties through these illegal proceeds by converting the equivalent of the mutilated notes into their accounts and selling printed mint meant for customers to touts and hawkers.

“Cognizant of the fact that section 21(4) of the CBN Act of 2007 makes it a punishable offence for any person to hawk, sell or trade in naira notes, coins or any other issued by the apex bank,” he said.

The lawmaker expressed worry that most of the mutilated currency in circulation harboured pathogenic micro organisms hazardous to human health.

He said that the mutilated currency also harboured infectious disease such as diarrhea, food poisoning and respiratory problems which could be spread through the bacteria infected notes.

The motion was unanimously adopted by members when it was put to a voice vote by the Speaker, Yakubu Dogara.

The House therefore mandated its committee on Banking and Currency to conduct an investigation into the activities of the cartel by beaming it’s search light on the CBN, Commercial banks and other allied banks.

The committee would ascertain those involved in the sharp practices of injecting mutilated and defected notes into circulation and report back within six weeks for further legislative input.

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