Economy

Why we need loan to finance 2022 budget deficit, Finance Minister explains

The Minister of Finance, Budget and National Planning, Mrs. Zainab Ahmed has disclosed the reason why the federal government needs loan to finance the 2022 budget deficit.

Ahmed elucidated the need while briefing journalists at the end of the Federal Executive Council (FEC) meeting presided over by President Muhammadu Buhari, at the residential Villa, Abuja.

The FEC had during the meeting approved N16.39 trillion for the 2022 Appropriation Bill.

Speaking, Ahmed said, “If we just depend on the revenues that we get, even though our revenues have increased, the operational expenditure of government, including salaries and other overheads, is barely covered or swallowed up by the revenue.

“So, we need to borrow to be able to build these projects that will ensure that we’re able to develop on a sustainable basis.

“Nigeria’s boring, has been of great concern and has elicited a lot of discussions. But if you look at the total size of the borrowing, it is still within healthy and sustainable limits. As at July 2021, the total borrowing is 23% of GDP.”

Responding to questions, she further justified the plan for more borrowing, arguing: “Government has been borrowing before this administration and continues to borrow and it is important that we borrow to provide developmental projects in the form of roads, rails, bridges, power and water for sustainable development in this country.

“If we just depend on the revenues that we get, even though our revenues have increased, the operational expenditure of government, including salaries and other overheads, is barely covered or swallowed up by the revenue.

“So, we need to borrow to be able to build these projects that will ensure that we’re able to develop on a sustainable basis.

“Nigeria’s borrowing has been of great concern and has elicited a lot of discussions, but if you look at the total size of the borrowing, it is still within healthy and sustainable limits.

“As at July 2021, the total borrowing is 23% of GDP. When you compare our borrowing to other countries, we’re the lowest within the region, lowest compared to Egypt, South Africa, Brazil, Mexico, the very lowest, and Angola.

“We do have a problem of revenue. Our revenues have been increasing. We just reported to Council that our revenues from non-oil has performed, as July, at the rate of 111%, which means outperforming the prorated budget.

“But our expenditure, especially staff emoluments have been increasing at a very fast rate making it difficult to cope with funding of government.

“So, what we have to do is a combination of cutting down our cost, as well as increasing revenue to be able to cope with all that is required for government to do, including salaries, pensions debt service, as well as capital expenditure.”

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