Olusegun Ariyo

The Peoples Democratic Party has berated the president over the rising profile of its debt profile over the years of his administration.

The Development may be unconnected to the recent $4.9 billion loan plan sent to the National Assembly for approval by President Mohammadu Buhari which read on the floor of the red chamber, the senate yesterday Wednesday, 2021.

The National publicity secretary of the opposition Peoples Democratic Party, Mr Kola Ologbodiyan in an interview with journalists claims the All progressive Congress can only function in opposition, saying the party simply lacks what it takes to provide leadership

 “This regime is the least qualified to talk about corruption. It is simply borrowing to finance the corrupt lifestyles of its party leaders and their cronies. The money borrowed since 2015 has ended up in private pockets. This explains the various financial scandals in FIRS (Federal Inland Revenue Service) , NPA  (Nigerian Ports Authority), NHIS (National Health Insurance Scheme), NCC (Nigerian Communications Commissions) and several government parastatals under their watch. Nigerians have started a countdown to 2023.”

In response, the governing party, the All Progressives Congress justifies President Buhari saying the recent borrowing plan of $4bn and €710m from foreign lenders is simply to finance projects.

The party explained that the government was seeking additional loans to finance critical projects in order to stimulate the economy and create jobs in the nation’s interest.

This was contained in a statement titled, “APC to PDP: Borrowings are to finance development projects, signed by the party’s National Secretary, Senator John Akpanudoedehe, in Abuja, on Wednesday.

The PDP had on Tuesday said the loan request was another move by the President and his All Progressives Congress-led regime to further mortgage the future of Nigeria and Nigerians with less than two years left in office.

Akpanudoedehe on Wednesday said the borrowings were for the benefit of the country.

He stated, “Borrowings by the President Muhammadu Buhari-led Federal Government are for the good of the country as the money is used to develop critical infrastructure that is stimulating economic growth, generating jobs, reducing poverty and improving the general well-being of the citizenry.

“Unlike in the brazen looting days of the Peoples Democratic Party, the borrowings are designed to finance the deficit in the 2021 budget to enable the realisation of the Nigerian Economic Sustainability Plan that touches key sectors such as infrastructure development, boosting healthcare services, strengthening agriculture to deepen food security, more energy generation and continued tackling of the ravaging COVID-19 global pandemic.

“From the foregoing, it is abundantly clear that the borrowing is hinged on genuine needs and based on the necessity to strengthen the foundation of the national economy and achieve the desired primary purpose of the government of uplifting the living standard of the citizens.

“It was in the PDP’ era that loans to fund power generation, purchase arms and ammunition to fight a raging insurgency were misappropriated and diverted to fund PDP activities; and the borrowed money ultimately found its way to the pockets of cronies, friends and family members of administration officials. Nigeria is still servicing a $460m  loan taken from China to fund a phoney Abuja closed-circuit television contract awarded in August 2010.”

The party urged Nigerians to recall that the PDP had in its 16 years of alleged misrule pushed the country into a dark ditch of insolvency, and a period in which most state governments could not pay workers’ salaries, not even the minimum wage, or settle contractors’ bills and cater for patients in hospitals, to name a few.

The President had on Tuesday submitted to the National Assembly, a request for approval to obtain fresh external loans of $4.054bn and €710m (($$839m).

According to a letter written to both chambers of the National Assembly, Buhari is also seeking the federal legislature’s approval for grant components of $125m in the 2018-2020 external rolling borrowing plan.

The President had on May 18, 2021sought the approval of the Senate to borrow $6.18bn external loans to finance this year’s N5.6tn budget deficit.

He said the loans would be used to finance critical projects and create jobs.

If the President gets the go-ahead to obtain the loans, the country’s debt profile will rise.

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