In secondary school, I read a novel One Week One Trouble by Anezi Okoro, about Wilsom Tagbo who was always running into troubles weekly. Permit to update that title to One Month One Loan for the Federal Republic of Nigeria. Our capacity to borrow these days to expand bureaucracy is legendary. I pity the poor Naira – what an unlucky currency. With the hedge against the Naira, downstream and upstream,…. [let me not complete this sentence to avoid confusion]. Yes, the House has approved the $22.7 billion which it originally suspended to explore how to include an excluded region. That is now history. The focus now moves to making sure the money is used judiciously as noted.
On Tuesday, the Nigerian House of Representatives approved the $22.7 billion loan request made by President Muhammadu Buhari. This is coming a few weeks after the Nigerian government secured a $3.4 billion COVID-19 assistance fund from the International Monetary Fund (IMF).
The $22.7 billion was approved by the Senate in March, but was rejected by the House due to the controversy surrounding it. The speaker of the House, Hon. Femi Gbajabiamila said the loan was not approved then because the southeast was excluded from the infrastructural projects that Buhari said the large part of the loan will be spent on.
On debts, this is where we stand, according to Premium Times. Yet, if this $22.7 billion is executed properly, great things could happen. Loan by itself is not bad. The problem, in Nigeria, is that loans hardly do much as they are wasted.
Last month, both Houses approved an N850 billion loan proposal from the president, which is to be sourced from domestic markets “to fund critical capital projects in the 2020 budget.”
Last week, Mr Buhari also wrote to both chambers, seeking the approval of another $5.513 billion foreign loans.
Nigeria’s rising debt profile, as of September 30, 2019, was N26.2 trillion. Of this amount, total domestic debts is about N18 trillion, or 68.45 per cent. About N8 trillion are owed to foreign lenders.
Good luck to the bigger bureaucracy including a new 774,000 quasi-government workers!