Ahmad Lawan

President of the Senate, Ahmad Lawan: says Nigeria must continue to borrow.

President of the Senate, Ahmad Lawan has explained that it is necessary for Nigeria to continue to borrow to fund critical projects.

Lawan said that it has become imperative for the Federal Government to continue to borrow responsibly to fund critical projects because Nigeria is poor.

Lawan disclosed this on Thursday while briefing State House correspondents following a closed-door meeting with President Muhammadu Buhari in Abuja.

He believes it is not reasonable for the Federal Government to tax the people more in the face of the present economic condition, adding that the country’s infrastructure must be developed.

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

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

“Our options are really very limited as a country. First, we don’t have the necessary revenue; 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; therefore, the option of not doing anything just to sit (because we’ve no money, we should not go for infrastructure development) is not an option worthy of consideration. You cannot keep the economy stagnant,” Lawan added.

Lawan while giving the assurance that the National Assembly would give legislative approval to the Executive loan request to fund the 2021 Appropriation Act before it embarked on a recess in July said Nigeria has no other choice than to borrow money and the option of private-public partnerships and Internally Generation Revenue (IGR) was not worthy of consideration.

“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 will insist on the details of the funding to look at the conditions that are attached to the loans and they must be favourable conditions before we approve.

“The other option is probably private partnership – you need to create the environment to attract investors to come into your 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 the sector of infrastructure development,” he said.