Buhari Media Organization, BMO, has stated that those criticizing the four billion dollars fresh loan request by President Muhammadu Buhari’s administration are acting out of ignorance.

Speaking to Nigerian Pilot in an exclusive interview, BMO chairman, Mr Niyi Akinsiju, said compared to what Nigeria needs to drive its economy for optimum productivity, the loans so far secured by president Buhari remain a drop in an ocean.

The president had last week written to the national assembly for approval to borrow $4 billion and €710 million loans to fund the 2021 budget.

He also sought the approval of grant components of $125 million.

The President said the loan request is an addendum to the 2018-2021 Federal Government External Borrowing Rolling Plan.

This has expectedly elicited reactions from analysts and critics of the administration who questioned the rationale behind the request amidst fear that Nigeria might slip into another debt pit.

But in his reaction to the critics, Mr Akinsiju maintained that there is nothing wrong in securing loan so long as it will be invested in capital projects which will in turn power the economy and increase the revenue base of the country to service the debt.

The BMO chairman stressed that given the level of infrastructure deficit in the country, Nigeria needs to invest a minimum of 100 billion dollars yearly for the next 30 years to fill the gap.

“There is nothing wrong in securing a loan so long as it will be deployed or invested in capital projects because, at times, the capital you have might not be enough to achieve your dream, then you will need external funding to complement what you have.

“We should be in a hurry to develop because we are in a state of abject underdevelopment. Principally, we are deficient in basic infrastructure. Unfortunately, past governments have not seen the need for this.

“Why are we constrained in revenue generation?  It is because the infrastructure is not driving revenue. We’re running an uncompetitive economy because of lack of infrastructure.

“We’re supposed to be investing a minimum of $100 billion dollars yearly to fill the infrastructure gap in the country over the next 30 years. If we have a government that is securing this kind of loan, it’s actually a drop in an ocean.

“If we are able to drive our power generation and distribution to the level of 10, 000 megawatts, it will be able to power the economy and the country will be able to get more revenue to service debt and increase the buoyancy of the economy.

“Our railway has been in comatose since 1995. How can an economy grow without the railway? Because we are talking of logistics, logistics is at the heart of manufacturing. About 30% of cost incurred in manufacturing is on logistics: movement of raw materials to factory sites, and movement of finished products to city gates. And were not talking about a distance of 10km, for instance, a factory in Kano may want to move raw materials from Lagos airport, so you can imagine the cost of moving that by road and the attendant danger. But if you use railway, the cost is reduced the safety is guaranteed, the timing is also reduced,” he said.

Akinsiju berated the opposition Peoples Democratic Party, PDP, for criticizing Buhari’s administration on loan procurement saying more than 55 percent of Nigeria’s external debt today was incurred by the PDP administration of which there is nothing to show for it.

“The difference between APC and PDP is that this administration has deployed its loan judiciously on capital projects unlike the PDP. So, if we are using huge revenue to service debt today, it’s because we’re servicing more than 55% of the loan incurred by PDP,” he argued.

On the rumoured defection of former president Goodluck Jonathan from the PDP to the APC, the BMO chairman said there was no deliberate plot to woo Jonathan to APC because there is no need for it.

He however posited that Mr Jonathan is a free citizen of Nigeria who has freedom and right of association, “and if he decides that he doesn’t want to be part of PDP again and he wants to come to APC, there’s nothing wrong with that.”

“The party hierarchy has said if he comes he would be treated equally like every other foundation member and would enjoy same privilege,” he added.


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