Nigeria Minister of Finance, Kemi Adeosun, has stated that the economic crisis in the country has got to a point she has no option but must borrow for survival.
The minister stated this at a town hall meeting in Abuja on Tuesday, but added that the Federal Government is very conscious and conservative about its borrowing, so as not to leave a heavy debt burden for future generations.
She was responding to a question by a participant at the meeting on ghost workers, continuous borrowing and why so much was being spent on one per cent of the population that form the government.
According to her, the present government has a very conservative borrowing programme, to enable it put in place rail lines, as well as upgrade the ones done in the colonial era, which she said has had rarely significant upgrade.
“We have urgently to do rail to enable agriculture and solid minerals to be competitive, so I really don’t see that there is any option than to borrow. We will borrow sustainably; we would borrow conservatively to make sure that we don’t burden future generation.”
She said while the government has been borrowing in the past to pay salaries, this time it will borrow to invest, adding that there is always expectation when “you borrow to invest” because of the expectation that there will be additional revenue that will service those borrowings.
“I don’t think people should be unduly concerned about borrowing; we have to borrow, we have no choice but we will borrow as strictly as possible. This is why we have approached the World Bank and export credit organisations that provide concessional loans. We are taking concessional loans before going for commercial loans.”
Also speaking at the event, the Minister of Budget and National Planning, Senator Udo Udoma, said, “When the budget was signed into law in May, it set for us a 12-month implementation framework. So far, we have released for capital projects N331bn. The bulk of it was power projects. The National Assembly provided that it should run from when it was signed into law. That means we have till May next year to implement all the capital projects.”
On why Education Minister was not present at the meeting, the Minister of Information and Culture, Lai Mohammed, said he was not part of the list given to him by the organisers of the meeting, the alumni of the National Institute for Policy and Strategic Studies.
By Ebere Ndukwu …
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