By Clifford Ndujihe
FORMER Minister of State for Education, Oloogun Kenneth Gbagi, has faulted the Federal Government’s proposal to borrow N1.8 trillion to fund the 2016 N6.08 trillion budget.
Fearing that the move could plunge the nation into avoidable doom, Gbagi, who urged immediate reversal of the move, said Nigeria did not need to borrow, if President Muhammadu Buhari recovers half of the country’s looted funds.
On Buhari’s N6.08 trillion budget and whether it would boost Nigeria’s economy, Gbagi said: “With regards to the N6 trillion budget, we are yet to be told the basis. From the way it sounds, we are going to borrow that money. My worry therefore, is where does that take us? Once you borrow, you are now at the mercy of your lender. It was what almost finished the American economy when they were borrowing to eat their breakfast from China. China got to the extent that you go into the White House, inscriptions and directions were written in Chinese. But that is a country with all the systems in place.
“In our own case, I don’t see how they want to rouse the economy where we now have oil at $20 per barrel. Remember that successive governments abandoned all our other sources of generating revenue for oil alone.
“If we borrow N2 trillion in 2016 for N6 trillion budget, in 2017, we will borrow N8 trillion of a N12 trillion budget and in 2018, we will borrow N15 trillion of a N20 trillion budget. We are heading for doom.
“So, it is too soon for a government that is largely not on its feet, that is not cohesive to think of plunging the country into that indebtedness when, in fact, we have over N20 trillion, which I think given my expectation of the President, we should have recovered 60 per cent of the stolen wealth of this nation by now.’’