Kingsley U.N. Chikwendu —
Nigeria’s Minister of Works and Housing, Babatunde Fashola yesterday in a televised programme on local television station, Channels TV said that the Nigeria is not broke after all.
Fashola, SAN, while fielding questions from the television station’s presenter, Seun, argued that being indebted and being able to service your debt in conventional finance does not entail being broke.
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Reacting to the indebtedness of the country as claimed by the country’s Minister of Finance, Budget and National Planning, Zainab Ahmed who warned that urgent action is needed to address the nation’s revenue challenge and expenditure efficiency at both the national and sub-national levels.
There had been earlier report that revealed that gross oil and gas federation revenue for the first four months of the year was projected at N3.12 trillion. However, as at April 30, only N1.23 trillion was realized, representing a mere 39% performance.
“To the best of my knowledge, Nigeria is not broke. Being indebted and being able to service your debt in conventional finance is not being broke, Fashola, a former Lagos state governor said.
“In any event you have to understand that the business of lending itself is a profitable business. So if nobody contracted debts where will all the banks and other financial institutions be? Where will they throw all the people they employ?
“So this is a matter of credit rating and credit reputation. It is this home economics mentality that I cannot take debts that led us to take 12billion dollars cash to go and payoff a debt we could have rescheduled, renegotiated when our infrastructure was dying. That mentality must leave our table.
“All the big nations we want to compete with are contracting debts to build their infrastructure and stand in competition. As long as you can service your debts, you are good.
“I can conveniently tell you that I am not the Nigeria’s minister of Finance; my job is to spend the money not to earn it.
“I am concerned and every responsible Nigerian should have his eyes on the debts and should be concerned”, the Minister added.