Lagos lawmakers okay FG’s request to borrow $29.9bn

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Some Lagos State lawmakers on Wednesday supported President Muhammadu Buhari’s bid to seek external loan of $29.9bn to provide infrastructure to revamp the economy.

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The lawmakers, in separate interviews, said that the step was necessary to bring the country out of recession.

They said that infrastructure development will attract local and foreign investment needed for economic growth.

The Chairman of the House Committee on Physical Planning and Urban Development, Mr. David Setonji, said that loan was good for any business or country as long as it would be properly used.

Setonji said that lack of infrastructure had sent many investors away from Nigeria.

He said, “The president means well for this country. For any business to grow, it requires funding.

“However, we have to be careful; the problem is not loan but its management because, in the past, loans were collected for projects and the projects never saw the light of the day.

“Infrastructure remains the biggest challenge in this country, and we need it to attract investors. For us to develop, we need to provide infrastructure.

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The lawmaker said that the nation would need the loan to complete critical projects.

A Peoples Democratic Party lawmaker, Mr. Jude Idimogu, said that there was nothing wrong in borrowing, if the loan would be well managed.

Idimogu, representing Oshodi/Isolo Constituency II said, “In our current situation, we need funds; this loan will attract foreign investments and there will be money in circulation.

“If the loan is used to build infrastructure and institutions that will create employment, it is in order.

“We need to borrow to come out of recession and build rail lines, roads, and revive moribund manufacturing industries.”

Idimogu urged the Federal Government to utilise the loan well whenever approved by the national Assembly.

The Chairman, House Committee on Science and Technology, Mr. Nurudeen Saka-Solaja, also said that Nigeria would need to borrow money to come out of economic crises.

Saka-Solaja said, “No individual, group or business can grow without borrowing.

“Most developed countries of the world borrow; so, the step to borrow is very good, but the money should be well utilised.

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“We should have a breakdown of how the loan will be used and how we will refund it.”

Similarly, The Abuja Chamber of Commerce and Industry says it supports Federal Government’s request to borrow the $30bn if only it will be used correctly for what it is meant for.

Mr Tony Ejinkeonye, the President of ACCI, said, “There is nothing wrong for the Federal Government to borrow money and spend it correctly to develop basic infrastructure in the country, ACCI will support it.

“But if the borrowing is to provide for food or pay salaries, the association will not support this.”

The Federal Government recently sought the approval of the National Assembly for external borrowing plan of 29.960 billion dollars to execute key infrastructure projects across the country between 2016 and 2018.

The cost of the projects under the borrowing plan of is 29.960 billion dollars, made up of proposed projects and programme loan of 11.274 billion dollars.

Others are Special National Infrastructure projects, 10.686 billion dollars, Euro bonds of 4.5 billion dollars and government budget support of 3.5 billion dollars.

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Commenting on the recent statement credited to US President-elect, Donald Trump, that he planned to deport about two to three million undocumented immigrants especially Nigerians, he advised Nigeriansin the US to regularise their stay and avoid deportation.

He said Trump might not actualise many of his electioneering promises because there were strong institutions to check him.

He also opposed the call by the President of Dangote Group, Aliko Dangote, to the Federal Government to reverse the 2013 power sector privatisation.

Dangote had noted that the challenges in the sector persisted in spite of the privatisation.

Ejinkeonye said if Federal Government revoked the power sector privatisation, it would affect the country greatly and negatively.

He added that many countries would not like to do business or anything in Nigeria if the Federal Government carried out the advice.

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