Senate President Ahmad Lawan says the only option the country has to finance infrastructural development across the country is to obtain loans.
Speaking with journalists at the national assembly on Friday, Lawan said the country cannot raise more revenue through taxes because of the prevailing economic situation.
On Thursday, the Debt Management Office (DMO) said Nigeria’s total public debt stock hit N33.10 trillion as at the end of the first quarter of 2021.
The senate president said it is the national assembly’s job to ensure that the loan requests by the executive are for essential projects.
“What we have to do is to raise funds and there are so many ways to do this. Are we going to raise taxes? Can we afford to raise taxes in the current situation for us to fund the infrastructure? And it is a must to have infrastructure like roads, railways and so on,” he said.
“Definitely, one option is out, and that is not to do anything. We cannot afford not to construct roads and other social amenities that will boost our economy. We cannot afford to raise taxes.
“The only option is to borrow, and to borrow responsibly. Before we borrow, we have to identify those essential infrastructure that we need to provide for our economy to grow.
“Permit me to have an opinion. It is a necessary burden, because to do otherwise will be irresponsible of any government to keep an economy that is stagnated.”
Lawan said the relevant committees in the national assembly are already embarking on oversight functions to ensure that loans are properly utilised.
“Since we don’t have a better option than to accept the request, we approved the loans. Our committee on foreign and domestic debts went to see the areas covered in the loans,” he said.
“We have also started oversight functions to ensure judicious utilisation of the loans in the overall interest of Nigerians.”
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