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Nigeria Is Poor, The Only Option Is To Borrow — Senate President

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The President of the 9th Nigerian Senate, Ahmad Lawan has declared Nigeria, the Giant of Africa poor, revealing that the only means and option the land flowing with milk and honey has to live is by borrowing.
Ahmad Lawan said this on Thursday, while apprising President Muhammadu Buhari of the activities lined up by the National Assembly, insisting that the nation cannot fund infrastructure.Nigeria Is Poor, The Only Option Is To Borrow — Senate President
Lawan pointed out that there are outstanding issues requiring the attention of the National Assembly before it proceeds on its summer break and this includes considering the president’s request for loans. “Our options are really very limited as a country. First, we don’t have the necessary revenues, Nigeria is poor, we shouldn’t deceive ourselves. Nigeria is not rich, given the circumstances we live in, given the challenges we have; our resources are so low, our revenues are so low and therefore, the option of not doing anything, just to sit because we have no money, we shouldn’t go for infrastructure development, is not even an option worthy of consideration. You cannot keep the economy stagnant. Two, you cannot, in my view and judgement, tax Nigerians further for you to raise the money for infrastructure development. Other countries do that, but we have serious situation across the country, so you cannot put taxes on people. The other option is a public-private partnership.”
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“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. So, the only option left is for us to borrow, borrow responsibly, utilise prudently and economically, and ensure that the projects are self-sustaining that they can pay back the loans that the Nigerian economy will benefit from the implementation of such infrastructure development. So, that is the only option we have and I believe that Nigerians will understand. Of course, it’s not desirable, it’s not something that we like too, no Nigerian would like to have. In fact, even an individual does not like to be on loan, but when you must, then you have to, and I want to be very practical here that we do so with that feeling of ‘this is our country, we must move forward, we must provide the enabling environment for our economy to grow and Nigeria to develop.”Nigeria Is Poor, The Only Option Is To Borrow — Senate PresidentSpeaking to newsmen after the meeting at the presidential villa, Lawan, however, assured that the legislature would not be frivolous in granting the Executive requests for loans. According to him, such requests would be subjected to thorough scrutiny to be sure that they are necessary and when approved, the use of the loan would be monitored through oversight. “We’ll 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’s only to give the necessary legislative approval for the administration to go further and collect the funds”, he said.
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“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’ll 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 added.Nigeria Is Poor, The Only Option Is To Borrow — Senate President
Lawan further listed some of the immediate activities the legislature would undertake before the recess including the receipt of the joint committee’s report on the Petroleum Industry Bill (PIB) and the passage of the Electoral Act (amendment) Bill. “We need to give so much attention to our security agencies because of the situation across the country and of course, the COVID-19 vaccines, procurement is also an essential thing that we need to do. We also have some work to do on the Electoral Act (amendment) Bill”, he said.
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“Our committee in the Senate and indeed, in the House, have worked jointly and we have very little to do really, to get the reports and consider in the two chambers. We expect that we’ll do that before we go on our annual summer recess, which comes up on the 15th of July, by the grace of God. So, before we go on summer recess, we should be able to pass the Electoral Act (amendment) Bill. We also have outstanding confirmation requests for National Commissioners of INEC, we’ll do that, we’ll consider those confirmation requests from Mr President before we go”, he added.
Nigeria Is Poor, The Only Option Is To Borrow — Senate President
L-R: Senate President Ahmad Lawan, President Muhammadu Buhari and House of Reps Speaker Femi Gbajabiamila
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Photos Credit: Getty

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