The Federal Government of Nigeria has called on Nigerians complaining about the country’s heavy loan burden to be optimistic, saying there was nothing wrong in borrowing as long as the loan was invested well.
Minister of Information and Culture, Alhaji Lai Mohammed, said on Saturday, that the loans secured by the government were not meant for services or overhead expenditure.
Mohammed spoke during the inspection of the Lagos-Ibadan standard gauge with the Minister of Transportation, Mr. Rotimi Amaechi.
Daily Trust reports that there have been misgivings in recent times over the increasing foreign loans, especially the ones taken from China.
Many Nigerians had also expressed fears over the sovereignty clause contained in the loans secured from China for the railway modernization projects of the federal government.
But while speaking with newsmen after the inspection, Mohammed said he was inspired with the project, stating that there was no better way to respond to those criticising the loan than to showcase what has been achieved with the loan.
Mohammed said: “There is no better way to answer Nigerians as to what we have done with the money we borrowed all over the world than this trip.
“You have seen first hand yourself the stations, the people at work.
“This is a project that will outlast virtually all of us here.
“Please, come and see for yourself what we are doing with the money we have borrowed.
“We didn’t borrow money on services, we didn’t borrow for overhead expenditure.
“We borrowed money for capital projects – rail, road, bridges and power infrastructures.
“This is the first in the series of inspection we are going to take along with you to better enlighten Nigerians that there is nothing bad in borrowing provided that borrowing is invested in infrastructure.
“There is nothing bad in borrowing if that borrowing is going to create jobs and create an enabling environment for the environment.”
Amaechi, on his part, said there is enough money for the Lagos-Ibadan project, noting that the government was only awaiting the approval of the Chinese government for the $5.3bn loan meant for the Ibadan-Kano train.
“We have enough money for this project.
“So, we have no problem with this project (Lagos-Ibadan).
“So, when we talked to the National Assembly to stop this their investigation of loans, they are not investigating corruption in construction, it’s the issue of loan, what we meant is that they should please allow us to get the loan for Ibadan to Kano which is about $5.3bn,” he said.