Ndubuisi Orji, Abuja
The Minister of Finance, Zanaib Ahmed and her counter parts in the Ministry of Works, Babatunde Fashola and the Minister of State for Transport, Gbemisola Saraki, yesterday, said Federal Government required $22.718 billion fresh loan to provide critical infrastructure and create jobs in the country.
The trio spoke, when they appeared before the House of Representatives Committees on Aids, Loans and Debt Management.
President Muhammadu Buhari had few days back sought the approval of the National Assembly for the unapproved component of the $30 billion 2016-2018 borrowing plan.
Ahmed, while defending the loan request said the government needed to invest in roads, rails, and to be able to grow at a rate ‘better than we are growing now”.
The minister explained that the loan been sough “are strictly for infrastructure development. So that we can address the deficit that we have. We know we must comply with some criteria. Every Kobo borrowed will be judiciously used.”
On the country’s debt profile, Ahmed assured that “Nigeria does not have a debt sustainability problem but revenue challenge. The issue we need to address is revenue. We need to invest in capital projects now to develop our economy. What we are doing is borrowing, as classified by the FRA, but it is actually capital investment.
“We need to invest in roads, rails, water, to be able to grow now, so that our economy can grow at a rate that is better than as we are growing now.It is in the regard that all efforts to increase revenues through measures such as the Finance Bill and Strategic Revenue Growth Initiative should be given necessary support.’