PRESIDENT of the Senate, Ahmad Lawan, has defended Nigeria’s borrowing spree, arguing that the Federal Government cannot tax Nigerians any further to fund infrastructure.
Lawan also said that Nigeria was currently poor and had no other option but to borrow to finance infrastructure.
He, however, affirmed that the legislature would not be frivolous in granting Executive’s requests for loans.
The Senate President said these on Thursday in an interview with State House correspondents after meeting with the President, Major General Muhammadu Buhari (retd.), at the Presidential Villa, Abuja.
Lawan asserted that requests for loans would pass through thorough scrutiny to ensure they were necessary, adding that when permitted, the loans would be monitored to ensure effective use.
He said the National Assembly would deliberate on other equally important matters such as the President’s request for loans before vacating for the summer.
He said, “We’ll also have the loan request from Mr. President. The loan request is to fund the 2021 Appropriation Act and of course, this is not a new request. It’s something that we have passed in the MTEF and it’s something that when we pass the budget 2021, we also passed that.
“What I want to assure Nigerians here is that we are not going to be frivolously supporting or approving loans for the executive arm of government. Our options are really very limited as a country. First, we don’t have the necessary revenues, Nigeria is poor; we shouldn’t deceive ourselves.
“You cannot, in my view and judgement, tax Nigerians further for you to raise the money for infrastructure development. Other countries do that, but we have serious situations across the country; so, you cannot put taxes on people.”