By Chris Ochayi
Buhari Media Organisation, BMO, Sunday, rose in defence of the $22.7bn loan approved by the Senate, saying the money would be channel towards bridging the nation’s infrastructure gap .
The organization also argued that the loan will launch the country into the league of nations with top-class infrastructure at the shortest possible time.
The BMO said in a statement signed by its Chairman Niyi Akinsiju and Secretary Cassidy Madueke, that this is unlike what Nigerians witnessed in the Peoples Democratic Party, PDP, years.
According to it, the loan is tied to projects that have a direct economic impact on the lives of average Nigerians.
The organisation explained, “We recognise that many Nigerians who lived through the 16-year misrule of PDP are apprehensive about the just approved external borrowing plan, but we make bold to say that things would be done differently this time.
” A cursory look through the details of the approved loan would reveal that every single one of it is tied to one infrastructural project or the other, ranging from power to railway lines and even education reforms and social welfare schemes.
“This is different from what many Nigerians knew about the PDP years where foreign loans were simply for budget support and ended up being used to pay salaries, as explained by a one-time finance minister or looted.
“And that is why the opposition party came up with a lame reaction to the Senate approval in which it claimed the request was ‘brimming with unexplained, obscure, over-bloated and questionable subheads’.
“But we wonder how a party that had the opportunity to transform the nation’s landscape at a time of high oil receipts could glibly dismiss an approval for loan for, amongst others, the Lagos-Kano Railway Modernisation Project (Ibadan-Kano Segment Double Track); Coastal Railway Project (Calabar-Port Harcourt-Onne Deep Sea Port Segment); and even the East-West Road Project that was used by PDP leaders as a drain pipe for slush fund between 2006 and 2015?
“What many Nigerians do not realise is that the 8th Senate approved about $6bn of the original $29bn loan request in 2018 which the Buhari administration has been using for projects including the Lagos-Ibadan Expressway that it was tied to.
“We have no doubt that when all these projects are delivered, they will go a long way to expand the nation’s production base, empower millions of Nigerians through job-creation, create convenience of living, boost Ease of Doing Business as well as increase the country’s GDP and nation’s income, year to year, which will, of course, pave way for increased revenue to pay back the loan,” the group said.
It also commended the Senate for pushing back attempts by the opposition to put a cog in the wheel of the process of approving the loan.
“It was clearly an attempt to continue what the previous Senate leadership did when it opted to play politics with what should have been seen as a national economic development agenda.
“The PDP agenda, since the Bukola Saraki years as Senate President, was to stop President Buhari from claiming credit for bridging the country’s infrastructure deficit in his tenure.
“But the Senate, under the present leadership of Ahmad Lawan, waded through all the landmines of frivolous points of orders to ensure that the loan request scaled through and we know for certain that Nigerians would not forget him when those projects are finally in place”.
The group assured Nigerians that President Buhari has a responsibility to bequeath a working country with laudable infrastructure even though he inherited one with decrepit and insufficient infrastructure.