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Why weve resorted to borrowing, by Buhari

Published by The Nation on Wed, 16 Sep 2020


Bolaji Ogundele, AbujaTHE government has been taking loans to bridge the infrastructure gap, President Muhammadu Buhari said on Tuesday.The President gave the explanation during a virtual meeting with members of the Presidential Economic Advisory Council (PEAC).According to a statement by the Senior Special Assistant to the President on Media and Publicity, Mallam Garba Shehu, the President said the strategic reason for borrowing was to provide the infrastructure to make the country attractive to investors.We have so many challenges with infrastructure. We just have to take loans to do roads, rail and power, so that investors will find us attractive and come here to put their money, the President said after listening to a presentation by PEAC chaired by Dr. Doyin Salami.He regretted that the failure to provide the infrastructure for effective transportation deprived the country of its well-deserved status as the West African hub for Air cargo transportation and trans-shipment of goods.On the economy, President Buhari noted the challenges posed by the collapse of the oil market and the decision of government to abide by the reduced oil production quota allocated by the Organisation of the Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC).We have to accept that decision; otherwise they (Middle-East producers) can flood the market and make the product unviable. So we have cooperated with what we get. With oil, we are in a difficult situation. The politics of oil is that the less you produce, the less you earn, he said.President Buhari explained that: For us to bounce back to productivity, especially in agriculture, the unemployed with many of them uneducated had to be persuaded to go into agriculture.If we hadnt gone back to the lands we would have been in trouble by now. That is why we virtually stopped the importation of food thereby saving jobs and foreign exchange.The President also broached the issue of COVID-19 pandemic and how it necessitated the government policies on energy (electricity) and petrol.He said the Federal Government took such decisions because it places the country above politics.Read Also:Buhari okays four Perm SecsCOVID has reduced us to the same level as developed countries.We are lucky we went back to the land. We eat what we produce. We are doing our best to secure the country and provide infrastructure for investment to be viable in the country, he said.Commending the Chairman and the members of the council for their patriotism and service to the nation, President Buhari pledged to continue to draw from their wisdom, knowledge and experiences as the nation deals with challenging economic times.Dr. Salami highlighted the Councils recommendations on poverty reduction and stimulation of non-debt investment inflows, as promised at their last meeting.The council recommended steps for the effective implementation of governments plan to lift 100 million Nigerians out of poverty, and measures to curb poverty disparity in Nigeria.The council promised to set out a full policy paper that would, in the first instance, stop more Nigerians from falling into poverty and thereafter, further plans on reducing the poverty headcount in the country.The PEAC also outlined a number of measures aimed at aggressively increasing the countrys non-debt investment inflow, including measures to improve investor perception of the country and the proposed establishment of a 5 billion10 billion dollars investment and growth fund to invest in.
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