The ruling All Progressives Congress (APC) has said the Buhari administration is obtaining loans to finance the deficit in the 2021 budget and develop critical infrastructure in the country.
In a statement on Wednesday, Secretary of the APC Caretaker/Extraordinary Convention Planning Committee, Sen John James Akpanudoedehe, said the critical infrastructure was in turn stimulating economic growth, generating jobs, reducing poverty and improving the general well-being of the citizenry.
Buhari had, on Tuesday, asked the Senate to approve $4.054bn, €710m and $125m fresh external loans to fund projects captured under the 2018-2021 borrowing plan.
But the leading opposition People’s Democratic Party (PDP) asked the National Assembly to reject the President’s request and probe the Buhari government’s spending of all loans collected so far.
In its reaction, the APC said, “Unlike in the brazen looting days of the PDP, 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 forgone, 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 government of uplifting the living standard of the citizens.
“It was in PDP’s era that loans to fund power generation, purchase arms and ammunition to fight a raging insurgency was 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 $460 million loan taken from China to fund a phoney Abuja Closed-Circuit Television (CCTV) contract awarded in August 2010.
“Nigerians should also reflect and recall that the PDP had in its 16 years of 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.
“In a welcome and commendable change, the Buhari-led adminstration through its economic management skills bailed out states to pay salary backlogs and embarked on large-scale infrastructure development projects that stimulated the economy and exited the era of insolvency and recession caused by the ineptitude of the PDP administration.
“The APC welcomes the continued and multi-partisan cooperation which exists between the executive and legislature on national issues. This will ensure good governance, particularly in the area of economic development. The country and citizens are the ultimate beneficiaries.”