16 October 2017

Nigeria: $5.5 Billion Loan - APC Responds to PDP's Criticism

The All Progressive Congress, APC, has dismissed criticisms by the main opposition party, the Peoples Democratic Party, PDP, over the proposed plan by the Nigerian government to obtain a $5.5 billion loan to assist it in its developmental projects.

In a statement issued by its spokesperson, Bolaji Abdullahi, on Sunday, the ruling party urged the PDP to wake up to new economic realities which made such loans by governments a necessity.

The PDP had expressed concern over the plan by the federal government to obtain the foreign loan.

About $3 billion was requested as foreign loan while another $2.5 billion is to be in bonds.

The party in a statement issued on Wednesday in Abuja by National Publicity Secretary of its National Caretaker Committee, Dayo Adeyeye, said the proposed loan "was needless" and would plunge the nation into debt.

President Muhammadu Buhari had on Tuesday written to the National Assembly requesting the approval as stipulated in the constitution.

But in its statement on Monday, the APC criticised the PDP for not being in tune with modern financial realities of running a government

The party explained that in developing economies, "governments typically resort to borrowing to finance development projects because taxation and other revenue streams may not necessarily provide sufficient funds for economic development."

"The recent borrowing plans proposed by the President Buhari administration is no different as the President has clearly stated in his request to the National Assembly that the loan will be used to finance the 2017 budget deficit and invest in critical and verifiable infrastructure project which will ultimately grow the economy," the party said in its defence.

It also said PDP's claim that it handed a buoyant economy when it was stampeded out of power in 2015 was false.

"The PDP's in its statement 'unapologetically' claimed that it meritoriously governed the country for 16 years and handed over a buoyant economy to the APC in 2015.

"Really, what could be further from the truth? The APC considers the claim a new height of PDP's insensitivity to the populace and has further exposed the PDP as a party unrepentant for the rot it left the country after its 16 years rule.

"Even when crude sold above $100, the immediate-past PDP-led administration struggled to build savings. In addition, the excess crude account was misspent. Poor capital expenditure meant badly-needed infrastructure development was put on hold. This forced construction companies with government contracts to cut back and sack thousands of workers," the APC further explained.

It added: "Nigerians will sadly recall how in the lead-up to President Buhari's assumption of office, former finance minister and coordinating minister of the economy, Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala in May 2015, revealed that Nigeria was borrowing to pay government salaries.

The party itemised the initiatives of President Buhari to revamp the ailing economy left behind by the PDP.

"Today, successive national budgets of the APC administration has prioritised and increased budgetary allocation for capital projects as one of the strategic ways to stimulate economic growth in the country.

"The economy has started responding to policy initiatives of the government as evidenced in the improvement and stability of the naira exchange rate; increase in the country's foreign reserves and the recent announcement by the National Bureau of Statistics (NBS) that the country has officially come out of recession.

"The borrowing plan of the President Buhari-led administration is inevitable in view of the current economic realities in the country," the statement added.

It explained what the loan would be used for.

"As stated in the president's loan request to the National Assembly, the loan will be invested in infrastructure projects such as the Mambilla Hydropower Project, Construction of a Second Runway at the Nnamdi Azikiwe international Airport, counterpart funding for rail projects and the construction of the Bodo-Bonny Road, with a Bridge across the Opobo Channel."'

The statement ended with further flak for the PDP.

"If the PDP thinks that by spewing falsehood and unsubstantiated claims, the party will return to power in 2019, then the PDP needs to seriously rethink its strategies. Nigerians are not gullible and can differentiate between a party who brought the country to where it is today and the party clearing the rot and rebuilding the country," the APC said.


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