House probes TCN’s $1.5bn, $500m foreign loans

By Oke Peter
The House of Representatives has queried loans totalling $1.5bn taken from foreign creditors by the Transmission Company of Nigeria (TCN).
This is in spite of a separate $500m loan, which the power firm is already negotiating with the Islamic Development Bank (IBD).
The House, resolved, on Wednesday, to investigate the operations of the TCN in the past 10 years, especially the loans, which it said were taken without applying due process of the law.
The motion calling for the probe was moved by a member from Kaduna State, Mr. Simon Arabo.
The motion stated, “The House notes that the TCN is wholly owned by the Federal Government through the Ministry of Finance Incorporated and the Bureau of Public Procurement, which hold the shares on its behalf.
“(The House is) aware that the TCN has taken loans amounting to $1.5bn from the World Bank and other international lenders over a period of time without complying with the provisions of Section 44 of the Fiscal Responsibility Act (2007).
“It is also aware that the loans were utilised without the appropriation of the National Assembly, contrary to Sections 80-83 of the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, 1999.
“Further aware that the TCN is currently negotiating another loan of $500m with Islamic Development Bank and has been violating the provisions of the Public Procurement Act in contract procedures as its contract processes are opaque.”
The House directed its Committees on Power, Public Procurement and Aids/Loans/Debt Management to conduct the investigation on the matter within eight weeks.
The session, which was presided over by the Speaker, Mr. Yakubu Dogara, passed another resolution, seeking the payment of N1.8bn to poultry farmers in the country for the loss of their birds to Avian Influnza last year.
The motion was moved by the Chairman, House Committee on Media and Public Affairs, Mr. Abdulrazak Namdas.
Namdas added that following an investigation by the Federal Ministry of Agriculture and a meeting between the then Acting President Yemi Osinbajo and the farmers, a compensation of N1.8bn was recommended.
However, the lawmaker told his colleagues that till date, the money had not been released to the 450 affected farmers.
“Till date, none of the farmers screened for the payment has received money. These farmers and their employees depend largely on the poultry for their livelihood,” he said.
The House endorsed the motion and asked the Committee on Agricultural Production Service to look into the matter with a view to getting the funds released to the farmers.

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