The Head of Abuja Social Action, Vivian Bellonwu-Okafor, said the only response of the Muhammadu Buhari administration to the economic recession was “to borrow more money.”
She said that the group was concerned about the circumvention of the laid down legal provisions for loan acquisitions.
Bellonwu-Okafor stated, “The Fiscal Responsibility Act, which outlines the democratic steps that should accompany any loan, is not being respected and so in this regard, loans are taken in a most shoddy and blanket manner without any clear purpose or project line tied to such acquisition(s) as well as cost-benefit analysis, as stipulated by the FRA.
“It is thus not surprising that government has not only taken but also advanced loans for recurrent items such as payment of salaries, sponsorship to foreign trips and conferences etc; this is in clear violation of the FRA which states that loans shall only be acquired for capital expenditure(s).”
She said that it appeared that the government was hiding under “a superfluous guide of so-called recession to embark on unrestrained and unmanageable borrowings.”
The head of Social Action stated that such an approach was “a false solution to the economic problems of Nigeria,” adding that the government was simply postponing the evil day.
Bellonwu-Okafor said, “Debt servicing will soon completely wipe out the country’s capital allocation. This free walk into another debt-trap should, with all experiences of hindsight, be avoided.
“The burden of debt falls on the shoulders of innocent citizens. Nigeria has the wherewithal both in human, natural as well as material and intellectual resources to have a thriving and flourishing economy without undue recourse to dependence-borrowing.”
On his part, the President of Campaign for Democracy, Abdul Usman, said that the borrowing did not show desirable performances by the administration.
According to him, the President and his cabinet of ministers should be held accountable not only in matters that have to do with corruption, but also on debts.
He stated, “Nigerians have never had it this bad and are losing faith in the change promised by the administration. There is hunger almost everywhere in the land. Citizens will want to see published documents or Mr. President should address the nation as we have yet to see the positivity on the budgeted N500bn social welfare.”
But the Minister of Finance, Mrs. Kemi Adeosun, while responding to enquiries from one of our correspondents, justified the increase in the debts.
The minister was asked what the money was spent on. She simply said, “I guess it would have been used to fund the budget and whatever government is spending money on.”
She said the government would continue to scale up spending in the area of infrastructure such as road, power and railway among others.