Despite Nigeria owing $86.39 billion (N32.9 trillion) to external creditors, the Minister of Finance, Zainab Ahmed, said the nation’s level of borrowing is not unreasonable.
Speaking to newsmen on Thursday at a media briefing at the State House in Abuja, Zainab said that Nigeria’s economy will regress and get stunted if the country refuses to borrow to build infrastructures.
The minister, who insisted that the level of borrowing by the government is still within reasonable threshold, said the nation will continue to borrow to finance infrastructural development.
“There is a lot of sensitivity in Nigeria about the level of borrowing by the government and it is not misplaced. The level of borrowing is not unreasonable; it is not high.
“The problem we have is that of revenue. So, what we need to do is to increase revenue to be able to enhance our debt-to-GDP obligation capacity.
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“If we say we will not borrow and, therefore, not build rails and major infrastructure until our revenue rises enough, then, we will regress as a country. We will be left behind, we won’t be able to improve our business environment and our economy will not grow. So, it is a decision that every government has to take.
“Our assessment is that we need to borrow to build our major infrastructure. We just need to make sure that when we borrow, we are applying the borrowing to specific major infrastructure that will enhance the business environment in this country.
“Again, we all have to work not just the federal government but state governments to increase our revenue to enhance our debt service obligations.”
She said care has to be taken to ensure that only projects that will enhance the business environment and yield more revenue into the treasuries of the country are embarked upon.
KanyiDaily recalls that the Ministry of Finance had confirmed plans by the Federal Government to sell some government-owned properties to fund the 2021 budget.