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Wednesday, December 1, 2021

Borrowing Inevitable for World Class Infrastructure in Nigeria, Says FG

Borrowing Inevitable for World Class Infrastructure in Nigeria, Says FG

Nigeria’s government on Thursday said borrowing is inevitable, and lamented that critics of its frequent request for fresh loans are insincere.

The minister of information and culture, Lai Mohammed, spoke for the government during a town hall meeting in Maiduguri, Borno State to address vandalism of power and telecommunications infrastructure.

Mohammed said the critics were members of previous administrations who “performed abysmally in terms of modernising our infrastructure, even when they served at a time when our earnings were multiples of what we get today.”

He said that government was not borrowing for recurrent expenditure or to pay salaries but to build world class infrastructure that would benefit generations of Nigerians.

According to him, based on the two town hall meetings held in Abuja on June 7 and July 5 2021, the situation regarding the wanton destruction of public infrastructure was worse than government had imagined.

He said, “For example, we were told that it would cost the federal government N3.8bn to repair just four bridges that were damaged by vandals and petrol-laden tankers. That’s a huge amount that could have been used to build new infrastructure.

“We are not borrowing for recurrent expenditure or to pay salaries. We are borrowing to build world class infrastructure that will benefit generations of Nigerians. And we have a lot to show for the loans we have taken.

“It is an irony that those who are criticizing us today performed abysmally in terms of modernising our infrastructure, even when they served at a time when our earnings were multiples of what we get today.

“Had they embarked on the kind of infrastructure development we are currently engaged in, perhaps there would have been no reason for us to borrow as much as we are doing now.

“They claimed to have spent billions of Naira in building infrastructure but as one can see, their infrastructure projects were only on paper.

“Today, we are still saddled with looking for resources to build the same infrastructure for which they claimed to have allocated huge resources. We will not be deterred by the antics of those who believe they can play politics with everything.

“Today, the standard-gauge rail lines between Lagos and Ibadan as well as Abuja and Kaduna are running well. Today, we have new airport terminals in Abuja, Kano, Lagos and Port Harcourt. Today, the Itakpe-Warri rail line that was abandoned for decades is running.

“Today, we have well over 13,000km of federal roads under repair, rehabilitation and reconstruction. There is a road project in every state. Today, we have started the countdown to when the 2nd Niger Bridge, which successive administrations have built only on paper will be completed.”

Mohammed said the list of projects being handled with the loans obtained by the Buhari regime was long.

 

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