Juliana Taiwo-Obalonye, Abuja
Tony Elumelu, Chairman of Heir Holdings, has reacted to International Monetary Fund (IMF’s) warning to Nigeria to be wary of China loan, urging it and other development parts to provide alternatives.
Mr. Tobias Adrian, the Financial Counsellor and Director of the IMF’s Monetary and Capital Markets Department, issued the warning on Wednesday during the launch of the Global Financial Stability Report for April 2019 at the IMF/World Bank meetings in Washington.
According to him, “capital flows, which include capital flows from China are of course important for development.
“On the other hand, what is very important in lending arrangements are the terms of the loans and we urge countries to make sure that when they borrow from abroad the terms are favorable.
“In particular, we recommend that loans to countries should conform with Paris Club arrangements and that is not always the case of loans from China,” he said.
Elumelu who was on a private visit to see President Muhammadu Buhari said nature abhors a vacuum, hence the IMF, World Bank and other development partners should provide alternatives that will create jobs.
When asked about his position on the IMF warning, Elumelu said: “My position is that nature abhors a vacuum; if you do not want Nigeria to take China loan, provide the alternative. Like I keep saying, they should also support the development of entrepreneurs; they should look at ways to help us eradicate poverty in a manner that is sustainable.
“For me, one of the surest ways to eradicate poverty is to ensure that our youths are gainfully employed through entrepreneurship. Also to make sure that development agencies – IMF, World Bank and co help and support Nigeria to improve on her infrastructure, road transportation, access to electricity. These are things that will help us improve on security in Nigeria; these are things that will help us increase prosperity through employment which is the most important thing.
“So, the advice is good but nature abhors a vacuum.”
On his advice to the Buhari administration as it prepares to kick start the ‘Next Level’ governance, Elumelu who congratulated the president on his resounding victory, said it was time to work.
“On the economy and the ‘next level,’ let us just continue in what we are doing, improve on them and increase capacity.
“I operate in the power sector; we are the biggest generator of electricity in Nigeria through Transcorp power and I know first hand, what efforts government is doing. But we need to do more, we need to convert gas to power, we need to complement what is going on already in Agric space and as you know there is peace and prosperity in that sector but we need to add a little zeal to it to be able to attract investors.
“I think the elections are over and we need to move forward as a team, as a country so that our people will be better for it.”