…For allegedly frustrating Lagos projects
From CHUKS AKUNNA and IHEANACHO NWOSU
Lagos State governor, Mr. Babatunde Fashola (SAN) yesterday dragged President Goodluck Jonathan before the House of Representatives for allegedly frustrating a $600 million loan from the World Bank. Scuttling the loan, Fashola told the House Committee on Aid, Loans and Debts, that it would likely heighten the suffering of about 20 million people in Lagos.
“We have a commitment with the World Bank for a loan of $600 million offered to Lagos. It is supposed to be in three tranches and the first tranche was paid in 2011. We were expecting the payment of the second tranche when we got the shocking information that the loan facility had been stopped,” Fashola narrated.
He told the Hon. Adeyinka Ajayi-led committee that no official of the Federal Government supplied any reasons for the stoppage, but that the Coordinating Minister of Finance, Dr. Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala merely told him on the telephone that his state had been excluded from the 2013 and 2014 borrowing plans.
On the likely reasons for stopping the loan, the governor said: “Whatever the reasons are, for me, development and fairness and consistency are more paramount. And the interests of those people are more paramount, really. Because the roads have no political colour. The water that we have to provide has no political colour and security is politically-blind.”
Fashola told the committee that the stoppage of the loan had jeopardized his state’s 2013 and 2014 budgets and that road, water and other development projects were bound to suffer. Fashola expressed disappointment that the Federal Government would seek to frustrate a measure aimed at improving the lot of the citizens, moreso when his state had “ diligently pursued fiscal disciplines and prudence on the basis of which the World Bank” released the first tranche of $200 million.