Vanguard (Lagos)

1 February 2013

Nigeria: Fashola Chides Critics Over 'Borrowing for Dev'

Lagos — GOVERNOR Babatunde Fashola of Lagos State, yesterday, faulted critics of the state government's borrowing for development strategy, saying "such criticisms show that they have shallow knowledge about economics."

This came as he justified the ban on public office holders from granting press interviews, saying, "it is not to undermine the Freedom of Information, FOI, law."

The governor, who spoke during an inspection tour of ongoing projects in Badagry Local Government, said that the critics were uninformed about economics of governance.

According to him: "It is not about borrowing, it is about ability to pay back and the debt services show that the state can pay back.

"And the borrowed funds were invested on facilities that would improve the standard of living of the residents. But if we depend on our past process of economic strategy, we will remain stagnant.

"Clearly, it shows that our critics are voodoo economists. This is a rehearsal of an old economic plan. This was the strategy adopted by the past administration.

"The first bond acquired by the state government is due for repayment and the fund is in the consolidated debt services account and the amount is about N52 billion as at December 2012. The liability that we have is N50 billion. It is not due until 2014."

Fashola also justified the enforcement of traffic law on Okada riders on unrestricted roads.

On Freedom of Information, FOI, law, he said the essence of the state government action was to ensure that information were disseminated through proper process of obtaining permit from the Ministry of Information and Strategy.

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