By Emmanuel Nduka
Chairman, Senate Committee on Army, Senator Ali Ndume, has advised Nigeria’s President, Muhammadu Buhari against spending foreign loans on paying salaries and servicing overhead.
Ndume who gave the advice in a statement on Sunday in commemoration of Democracy Day, comes as Nigeria’s debt profile currently stands at N33.10trillion as of the end of the first quarter of 2021.
The Senator while noting that there was nothing wrong with a country taking foreign loans, said the important thing is how the funds are spent, adding that they could be channelled to boost agriculture and the revive moribund industries.
He also said the loans meant to provide infrastructure should be obtained from international lending agencies with favourable conditions, stressing that government should ensure that such roads infrastructure are made to generate revenue by erecting toll plazas on them.
“Concerning the issue of foreign loan borrowings, the problem is not about borrowing because the idea is not bad.
“Even developed nations also do the same thing. It is what the government do with the money that is important. The concentration on infrastructural development by the Buhari administration, especially in the area of railway and road infrastructure is commendable.
“The Federal Government should look at the possibility of borrowing for agricultural development so that our people will move from subsistence farming to a mechanised one.
“If that is achieved, it will generate employment and guarantee food security. Also, there would be no need for Nigeria to spend foreign exchange on food importation. We can produce all types of food in Nigeria only if the farmers are well funded.
“The external loans should also be used to fund moribund industries especially textile and spare part manufacturing among others. It is only through that the government can guarantee borrowings because the manufacturing industries will come up again through the Manufacturers Association of Nigeria.
“The government can serve as a guarantee for the loans so that MAN would coordinate the process of resuscitating the moribund industries that had been closed down.
“The loans should be borrowed from the international lending agencies whose terms are very good in order to develop our road infrastructure and mount toll plazas in order to generate revenue to pay back the loans.
“Borrowings should not be made to defray recurrent expenditure like payment of salaries and overhead costs. Funding for such purposes should be sourced locally from taxes and other internally generated revenues,” his statement read in part.