On Mr. President’s Foreign loan Request – Frank Ofili111 views
I don’t think I have issues with Nigeria taking foreign loans as long as the loans are for leverage. For me, loan is okay, not for consumption, but for strategic regenerative capital investment
I understand the emotions of those opposed to it, but if anyone has a better idea how to resuscitate our comatose infrastructure, they should put it across. Talk is cheap while bold rational action transforms. And our country needs transformation right now.
The 8th Senate rejected President Buhari’s request for $30 billion foreign loan to fund critical infrastructure, and was, predictably, praised.
Thus rejected, Buhari turned his attention to some moribund national assets and requested they be sold off to fund infrastructure development. Again, the 8th Senate rejected the request and was (again) roundly praised. What no one bordered to ask is what other alternative financing did the 8th Senate proffer, even as the need to develop infrastructure was not in doubt?
A Senate already notorious for being the most-paid-Senate-in-the-world that rejected a request for national infrastructure development financing, but saw nothing wrong in increasing its remunerations and buying exotic cars for its members every now and then, cannot be said to have the interest of the nation at heart.
But of course, emotions always rule our clime. And we all knew what politics played out at Saraki’s 8th Senate. How many people know that the result of that evil politics is reflected in the state of our roads across the length and breadth of our country today?
And what were those infrastructures for which the loan request was made? They include:
- The East-West Road.
- Mambilla Hydro Power Station.
- Dualization of Suleja-Minna Road.
- Standard gauge Ibadan-Kano Rail line.
- Calabar-PH-Aba-Makurdi-Bauchi-Maiduguri Rail Line.
- Dualization of Ibadan-Ilorin-Jebba Road.
- 2,500 KM Power Transmission Lines and Power Transformers across Nigeria.
- Funding and upgrade of 18 Federal Universities.
- Total overhauling of Ajaokuta Steel Company.
- Dualization Of Lokoja-Okene-Auchi-Benin Road.
Anyone who can look me in the eye and tell me these projects are not worth executing should come forward.
Now we have a more sober, mature and collaborative leadership in the 9th Senate, and President Buhari has re-presented the loan request. But already the Senate is being tagged a rubber stamp, even as it has not as much as considered the request.
I have no issues with foreign loans so long they are put to good use. If the fear is that it will be mismanaged, I posit that that is exactly why the National Assembly (NASS) oversight duty is there in the first place – to ensure our money is used for what it is meant. The NASS should do its oversight duty. But we cannot be afraid to execute developmental projects because of fear that the funds would be mismanaged.
Emotions are okay but we cannot develop our country by them. I guess what should border us are: (1) the conditions for the loan, and (2) capacity to pay it back.
On the first, no one can say for now until the Senate commences detailed discussion on the loan request. Hopefully, it will do a good work to put this question into consideration. On the second question, yes, I think Nigeria has the capacity to pay back a $30 billion loan.