Nigeria: Why We Can't Stop Borrowing, Fashola, Saraki, Zainab Tell Reps

(file photo).
10 December 2019

The ministers of Finance, Mrs. Zainab Ahmed; Works and Housing, Babatunde Fashola; Minister of State for Transport, Gbemisola Saraki as well as the Director-General, Debt Management Office (DMO), Patience Oniha, have justified borrowing by the federal government.

They argued that the government must borrow to meet the infrastructural needs of the people, stressing that such borrowing was inevitable.

They made the submission on Tuesday when they appearred before the House of Representatives Committee on Aids, Loans and Debt Management to defend the loan request of $22.718 billion presented to the Senate by President Muhammadu Buhari.

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In her presentation, the Finance Minister, Zainab Ahmed, said there was an urgent need to fund the 2020 budget to improve infrastructural development and create jobs hence the decision to take the loan.

"We need to invest in roads, rails, and to be able to grow at a growth better than we are growing now. They are strictly for infrastructure development. So that we can address the deficit that we have. We know we must comply with some criteria.

Mrs Ahmed allayed fears over the loan, saying that "Nigeria does not have a debt sustainability problem but revenue challenge."Every Kobo borrowed will be judiciously used."

On his part, the Minister of Works and Housing, Babatunde Fashola said government cannot ignore the infrastructural development needs in the country which is the catalyst for the overall development of the country.

"It is right to have this hearing because we cannot ignore the concerns of the members of the public over the debt profile of the country. As we cannot ignore the concerns about debts, so we cannot ignore the concerns and demands for the provision of life sustaining infrastructure.

"So, everybody wants a road, everybody wants a rail project, everybody wants a port and efficient airports. They want to ensure that our ports are efficient so that business can function more effectively, so that clearing of goods can happen more quickly and cheaply.

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