Chris Steven, Abuja
The Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) on Wednesday lambasted President Muhammadu Buhari, over his plan to borrow $29.960 billion.
The party called on both chambers of the National Assembly to reject the request.
Buhari had on Tuesday wrote to National Assembly seeking approval to borrow $29.960 billion, and movement of N180 billion appropriated for special intervention to funding of ‘critical recurrent and capital items.
But, PDP in a statement disagreed with the President Buhari-led All Progressives Congress (APC) plan, adding that the President should first and foremost explain to Nigerians what his administration has done with the so called ‘recovered looted funds’ and how far the 2016 budget is fairing.
“Also, President Buhari must itemize what he intends to finance with this proposed borrowing of almost $30b instead of lumping it up in a coded term, and to plunge the nation’s future into burden of debt. More so, this approach cannot be the preferred solution to the economic quagmire which this government created due to ineptitude.
“This government budgeted the Sum of N6.07trn for the 2016 Fiscal Year with deficit of N2.22trn and according to the breakdown, N1.8trn was budgeted for Capital Expenditure and President Buhari is now seeking to borrow over N9trn ($29.960b) for ‘critical infrastructure’. This is absurd and way outside the government budgetary provisions for Capital Expenditure and must be rejected by all well-meaning Nigerians.
“Nigerians will recall that the Minister of Information, Culture and Tourism, Alhaji Lai Mohammed in June 2016 made public through a press statement, an account of recovered looted funds between May 2015 to May 2016 amounting to the sums of N78.3b, $185.1m, £3.5m and €11,250m in cash; while others were under interim forfeiture. What happened to the recovered funds? Or is it the same funds the EFCC and DSS are planting in houses of opposition figures and justices instead of channeling it into the economy?
“In addition, the Chairman of Economic and Financial Crime Commission (EFCC), Ibrahim Magu recently confirmed our position when he stated that the Commission recovered more money in 8 months than it recovered in 12 years.
“Nigerians need to know how much revenue government has been able to generate from crude oil, non-oil and independent revenue sources since assumption of office from May 2015 to September 2016. This clarification will boost confidence of Nigerians on the management of their resources especially in this period of recession before thinking of engaging in external borrowing.
“It is no gain saying that the APC led federal government has left no stone unturned in castigating the PDP’s 16 years as wasted even with its obvious achievements; one of which was getting reprieve from the Paris Club of Creditors. The APC led federal government is again taking Nigeria prior to year 2005 when external debt burden derailed the growth of Nigeria economy and weakened the GDP before the total cancellation of her debt.
“This proposed action of the APC’s government will be a great injustice to the citizens of this country now and in the future if they are plunged back into debt.”
While calling on the National Assembly to reject the request, PDP said “history will not forgive this APC government and its collaborators if they allow this injustice and maladministration to our economy and citizens to stand.”