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Yaradua endorses $10m loan without INTEREST ! for Sao Tome and Principe

Sao tome with a population of about 150,000 roughly the population of Ikeja or Egbeda.

President Umaru Yar’Adua on Thursday defended the decision of his administration to grant a request for a $10m soft loan by the Democratic Republic of Sao Tome and Principe, saying that it was to assist the government of that country address pressing socio-economic challenges.
In a letter to the House of Representatives seeking its approval for the loan, Yar’Adua explained that a stable socio-economic climate in Sao Tome and Principe would strengthen security in the Gulf Region.
The President allayed fears over repayment saying that the interest-free loan would be repaid between four and six years.
He, however, told the House that the total loan requested by Sao Tome and Principe was $30m out which the Federal Executive Council had approved $10m in the first instance while the balance of $20m would be considered subsequently.
Yar’Adua, who added that the loan would be sourced from his “contingency vote”, noted that his action was covered by Section 25 of the 1999 Constitution.
The President’s letter was read on the floor of the House by the Speaker, Mr. Dimeji Bankole.
Some members, however, raised objections, arguing that Yar’Adua should have the approval of the House before allowing FEC to endorse the loan.
Relying on Section 80 (4) of the 1999 Constitution, Mr. Halims Agoda, observed that no funds shall be withdrawn from government’s treasury without the approval of the National Assembly.
Agoda said the President sent the letter to the House as an afterthought as the “National Assembly has to approve it first before sending it to FEC.”
He, however, advised that a proper motion for the approval of the loan should be moved so it could be debated.
But, the Chief Whip of the House, Mr. Emeka Ihedioha, drew the attention of members to Yar’Adua’s explanation that he was drawing the loan from his contingency vote, “which has already been approved by the National Assembly in the budget; so we do not need another approval.”
The Minority Leader, Alhaji Mohammed Ndume, disagreed with Ihedioha on the grounds that the same Yar’Adua had complained last week that his contingency vote in the 2009 budget was removed.
“So, where did he get another contingency vote from?” Ndume asked.
The House later referred the letter to the Committees on Appropriation and Finance to discuss it and come up with a motion for consideration by the House within one week.

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