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Lawan: Senate approves borrowing to finance critical infrastructure

…says Nigeria, Twitter need each other

The upper chamber of the National Assembly yesterday said that the approval of borrowing requests from the executive arm of the government was meant to facilitate the development of roads, rails, bridges and other critical infrastructure that could stimulate rapid economic growth in Nigeria. = President of the Senate, Ahmad Lawan, who disclosed this at a media briefing to mark the second year anniversary of the 9th Senate, said though Nigerians have been expressing concerns about the nation’s increasing debt profile, the loans have become a necessary burden if the government must address the infrastructural gaps in the country.

He said that in the face of dwindling revenues, the federal government has two main options of finding infrastructure development in the country. According to Lawan, the government would either raise taxes or borrow money to fund the essential projects in the national budget. “Since we don’t have enough money to fund these critical infrastructure and we cannot raise taxes because of the poverty level of our people, we have to bit the bullet and approve the loans. But even before then, we would send our Committee on Foreign and Domestic Debts to go round the areas to identify the projects and ascertain their suitability and viability.

Lawan acknowledged that the Senate has two pending loan requests from the executive but assured that the red chamber will conduct its due diligence on the requests before giving approval to them. According to him, one of the requests was for the construction of rail lines in different parts of the country while the other would be used to fund projects in agriculture, mining and other critical sectors of the economy. He explained that the Senate would find out if the projects to be funded were really essential to the economy and whether the conditions in terms of moratorium and interest rates were within reasonable limits.

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