It’s inescapable for Nigeria to borrow for infrastructure development- Senate President

by Per Second News
4 minutes read

The Senate President, Dr Ahmad Lawan, says the only option left for the Nigerian government to fund infrastructure is borrowing, describing the country as poor.


According to him, it is not feasible for the government to tax the people further in the face of the present economic situation as it has become imperative to develop the nation’s infrastructure.

The Senate President, who made the remark while briefing State House correspondents after a closed-door meeting with President Muhammadu Buhari in Abuja, assured that the legislature would not be “frivolous in granting Executive arm of government requests for loans”.

Lawan disclosed that loans requests would be subjected to thorough scrutiny to ensure they are necessary and when approved, the use of the loan would be monitored through oversight.

He said: “You cannot, in my view and judgement, tax Nigerians further for you to raise the money for infrastructural development; other countries do that, but we have serious situation across the country.

“So, you cannot put taxes on the people. The only option left is for us to borrow responsibly, utilize prudently and economically, and ensure that the projects are self-sustaining; that they can pay back the loans.

“Our options are really very limited as a country. First, we do not have the necessary revenue; Nigeria is poor, we should not deceive ourselves. Nigeria is not rich given the circumstances we live in, given the challenges we have.

“The other option is public private partnership. You need to create the environment to attract investors to come into our country because of the security challenges we face today. Not many investors would like to come to Nigeria. In fact, even those inside Nigeria may not like to invest properly in this sector of infrastructure development.”

Lawan also assured that the National Assembly would give legislative approval to the Executive loan requests to fund the 2021 Appropriation Act before it embarks on recess in July.

“We will also have the loan request from Mr. President. The loan request is to fund the 2021 Appropriation Act and of course, this is not a new request. It’s something that we had passed in the MTEF and it’s something that when we pass the budget 2021, we also passed that.

“So, it is only to give the necessary legislative approval for the administration to go further and collect the funds.

“What I want to assure Nigerians here is that we are not going to be frivolously supporting or approving loans for the executive arm of government.

“Whenever we have to approve any loan, we have to insist on the details of what projects will be funded by those loans. We will have to look at the conditions that are attached to the loans.

“They must be favourable conditions before we approve and we will be up to date with our oversight to ensure that what we have approved is directly deployed and on those projects that we have also approved for implementation.

“So, we will not be frivolous and will not take it lightly to just approve any loan,” he promised.

The senate president also disclosed that the legislature would receive the joint committee’s report on the Petroleum Industry Bill (PIB) and the passage of the Electoral Act (amendment) Bill.

“You will recall that we have several bills, very important ones at that, that are pending and we are working around the clock.

” At the moment, we are dotting the I’s and crossing the T’s on the PIB; the Petrol Industry Bill, and by the grace of God, our committees, the joint committees, will finish their work on it by the end of the week, hopefully.

“The reports would be laid on Tuesday in both chambers. This is what we have planned and this is what we are working towards,” Lawan said.


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