Finance Minister defends FG, says “we are borrowing sensibly and responsibly”

 

The Minister of Finance, Budget and National Planning, Mrs Zainab Ahmed on Monday defended the Federal Government, saying it is borrowing “sensibly and responsibly.”

The Minister said this at a press conference she jointly addressed with the Minister of Information and Culture, Alhaji Lai Mohammed; as well as some other top government officials from her ministry.

Ahmed was answering a question on whether the government’s continued borrowing was not capable of impacting negatively on the economic growth recorded so far.

But the minister explained that the government only borrows to invest on infrastructure that will later yield proceeds for the country.

“We are borrowing sensibly and responsibly to invest on critical infrastructures.

“These investments will make returns in future,” the minister said.

She noted further: “We are borrowing with a very close consideration to the sustainability of the borrowing. The borrowing level for Nigeria today is still 23 percent of the GDP.

“I have said it several times that the problem we have in Nigeria is that of revenue and when you look at the country that are within the peer group with Nigeria, there are some that had 50 per cent growth that are now at about 70 per cent growth.

“We are at 53 despite the escalated borrowing we had to deal with in 2020; also in 2021, to get a good grip on the economic situation that was occasioned by COVID-19 pandemic and in our case, due to the crash in crude oil price.

“We are borrowing sensibly; we are also borrowing to invest in critical infrastructure like power, water, roads and rails which are investments that are required to enhance business productivity in the country today.

“These businesses will grow, they will not only pay taxes, they will also employ people. If we don’t do this, we will regress even from where we are today. It is a necessary investment so we are borrowing responsibly.

“We are making sure what we are borrowing is applying to major infrastructure that will return revenue in the near future” she explained.