Nigeria lawmakers have given a nod for more borrowing to fund the 2022 budget which was laid by President Muhammadu Buhari at a joint session of the National Assembly last week Thursday.
Tagged, “Budget Of Economic Growth and Sustainability,” the N16.39 trillion estimate will require Nigeria to borrow about N5.78 trillion to fund the N6.26 trillion deficit.
In recent years, Nigeria has borrowed more money to fund the budget rather than looking inward and raising funds for the budget implementation.
In October 2005, Nigeria and the Paris Club announced a final agreement for debt relief worth $18 billion and an overall reduction of Nigeria’s debt stock by $30 billion. The deal was completed on April 21, 2006, when Nigeria made its final payment and its books were cleared of any Paris Club debt.
According to statistics from the Debt Management Office (DMO) Nigeria’s total debt as at June 30, 2021 stood at N35.46 trillion.
But speaking during the budget presentation, the President of the Senate who is also the Chairman of the National Assembly, Ahmad Lawan, said the National Assembly understood why the country needed to borrow adding that it was the reason they have been approving the loan request.
“Mr President, we understand that due to paucity of revenue, the Federal Government has to resort to raising funds from foreign and domestic sources to provide infrastructure across the country. That is why the National Assembly approved the requests for borrowing. The Commitment of the Federal Government in providing infrastructure across the country means that the funds must be raised one way or the other. Government should also explore other sources of funding for its projects in order to reduce borrowing,”Lawan said.
The Chairman, Senate Committee on Finance, Solomon Olamilekan Adeola (APC Lagos) said the president did not shy away from the issue of the budget deficit of about N6.26 trillion and has given emphasis that the deficit will be finance through internal and external borrowings of about N5.78 trillion and the balance of it will come from multilateral and bilateral project-tied loan.
Other lawmakers who spoke to LEADERSHIP from, Opeyemi Bamidele (APC Ekiti); Uba Sani (Kaduna Central); Ishaku Abbo (APC Adamawa); Abdullahi Adamu (APC Nasarawa); Ayo Akinyelure (PDP Ondo) and Hon Gudaji Kazaure representing Kazaure/Roni/Gwiwa/Yankwashi Federal Constituency of Jigawa State in the House of Representatives said it was necessary for the government to borrow and fund the budget deficit.
Now that the lawmakers have received the document, many Nigerians are waiting to see how it will be scrutinised.
Even though the lawmakers are urging Nigerians to be hopeful, and wait for their passage of the budget, other Nigerians are raising questions concerning the items in the document, the borrowing plans, the projects that would be executed and the payment plans.
“Let us be hopeful that by the time the budget will be considered and passed by the National Assembly, it will take care of the overall interest and concern of the federal republic of Nigeria from the economic angle,” Sen Solomon Olamilekan Adeola (APC Lagos) said.