A former governorship candidate, Mr Babatunde Gbadamosi, believes there is a need for the Federal Government to be more proactive in order to save Nigeria from sinking.
Speaking during an appearance on Sunday Politics, Gbadamosi who contested the March 9 Lagos State Governorship Election on the platform of the Action Democratic Party (ADP) described those managing the nation’s economy as ‘amateur’.
“The reality is that Nigeria is sinking very fast under amateur economic managers,” he said while reacting to the request for the approval of the 2016-2018 External Borrowing Plan.
President Muhammadu Buhari had on Thursday last week urged the National Assembly to review and approve the plan after it was rejected by the 8th National Assembly.
In letters addressed to the leadership of the Senate and House of Representatives, the President explained that the request was for specific outstanding projects under the 2016-2018 borrowing plan.
In his reaction, Gbadamosi faulted the move by the President and took a jab at those managing the economy.
He stressed that the nation does not need to borrow money but rather, put certain measures in place that would help generate more revenue.
The former governorship candidate also advised the Federal Government to create a better conducive environment for businesses to thrive.
“The people that are running the economy right now are ranked amateurs; they have no clue what they are doing,” he insisted.
Gbadamosi added, “Stop borrowing, open up the economy. Open the land borders, allow trade, remove forex restrictions; stop trying to micromanage the foreign exchange rates.”
However, a member of the All Progressives Congress (APC) and legal practitioner, Daniel Bwala, defended the decision to borrow money.
Bwala, who was also a guest on Sunday politics, disagreed with Gbadamosi on the need to borrow, saying it was easy to say than to do.
“Intriguing enough, any government that comes to power; before coming to power they will kick against borrowing but when they come to power and they are faced with the reality, they will have to face the issue.
“I am in support of the borrowing because if you have infrastructure deficit; if you have the problem of managing between that revenue ratio and the borrowing, then you have a problem,” he stated.
According to the APC member, no economist would argue the fact that a country needs to borrow if it must tackle the problem of infrastructure.
He, however, advised the government to set up a task force such as a department in the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) to monitor projects which the borrowed monies were meant for.
President Buhari’s letter to the National Assembly read:
Pursuant to Section 21 and 27 of the Debt Management Office (Establishment) Act, I hereby request for Resolutions of the Senate to approve the Federal Government’s 2016 – 2018 External Borrowing plan, as well as relevant projects under this plan.
Specifically, the Senate is invited to note that: While I had transmitted the 2016-2018 External Borrowing Plan to the Eighth National Assembly in September 2016, this plan was not approved in its entirety by the Legislature, only the Federal Government’s Emergency projects for the North East, (Four (4) States’ projects and one (1) China Exam Bank Assisted Railway Modernisation Projects for Lagos – Ibadan Segment) we’re approved, out of a total of thirty-nine (39) projects.
The Outstanding projects in the plan that were not approved by the Legislature are, nevertheless, critical to the delivery of the Government’s policies and programmes relating to power, mining, roads, agriculture, health, water and educational sectors.
These outstanding projects are well advanced in terms of their preparation, consistent with the 2016 Debt Sustainability Analysis undertaken by the Debt Management Office and were approved by the Federal Executive Council in August 2016 under the 2016 – 2018 External Borrowing Plan.
Accordingly, I have attached, for your kind consideration, relevant information from the Honourable Minister of Finance, Budget and National Planning the specific outstanding projects under the 2016 – 2018 External Borrowing plan for which legislative approval is currently sought.
I have also directed the Minister to make herself available to provide any additional information or clarification which you may require to facilitate prompt approval of the outstanding projects under this plan.