The Senate is now engaged in a heated debate over the president’s request to authorize a N23.7 trillion reorganization of the Ways and Means Advances, which was made by Major General Muhammadu Buhari (retired).
Ahmad Lawan, the president of the Senate, and Femi Gbajabiamila, speaker of the House of Representatives, read out Buhari’s plea to the members of their respective houses at the session on Wednesday.
“The Ways and Means Advance by the Central Bank of Nigeria to the Federal Government has been a funding option for the Federal Government to cater for short-term or emergency finance to fund delayed government expected cash receipt of fiscal deficit,” the President stated in the request titled “Restructuring of Ways and Means Advances.”
“As of December 19, 2022, the Ways and Means balance are N23,719,703,774,306.90.
I have given my approval for the securitization of the Ways and Means balances under the following conditions: N23.7 trillion; 40 years; a three-year moratorium on principal payments; and a 9% pricing interest rate.
Drama broke out at the plenary, though, when Senator Betty Apiafi, the senator from Rivers West, stood up to oppose the new borrowings and the Senate President yelled at her to stop. Senator Solomon Adeola, the chairman of the Senate Committee on Finance, was reporting the committee’s findings on the Ways and Means at the time.
Senators started shouting, standing up, and shouting angrily, and the situation changed.
Sens. Smart Adeyemi (APC, Kogi West) and George Sekibo (PDP, Rivers) among other members resolved in support of Apiafi, arguing that the Senate President was not authorized to yell at a senator while he was speaking.
Lawan swiftly requested a private meeting as the plenary’s tension continued to rise.