ACCI allays fears over FG’s $5.5b Eurobond external loan
• Condemns hiring of Malaysian consultants
The Abuja Chamber of Commerce and Industry (ACCI), has urged Nigerians to worry less about the Federal Government’s $5.5billion Eurobond loan recently approved by the National Assembly, even as it condemned the use of Malaysian contractors to help with the Economic Recovery and Growth Plan (ERGP).
The Director General, ACCI, Chijioke Ekechukwu, who expressed the feelings of the Chamber, said there was nothing wrong with the Eurobond loan, since government explained it was targeted at infrastructural projects, and refinancing of maturing domestic debt with less expensive long-term external debt.
Ekechukwu, who said this Wednesday, while speaking to journalists on ‘The State of The Economy’, in Abuja, maintained that many other countries had borrowed far above what Nigeria is taking from the Eurobond.
He said: “We shouldn’t be shy to borrow money to fund the budget deficit, infrastructural development and local projects. There is no problem with that and Nigerians should not worry.
“I’m optimistic that this external borrowing will not suffer the country’s economy, as being speculated in some quarters. I am saying so because government has come out to say it will be used mostly for infrastructure development of the country.
“During the last Economic Summit Group gathering, I said that government should stop borrowing locally, so as to reduce the pressure on rates. If government can source for funds from outside the system, it will bring the mix that would balance out what we are suffering today.”
But on the recent decision by the Federal Government to hire four Malaysians to help in fixing the economy, he said, such actions should be discouraged, as Nigeria has competent hands that can successfully navigate the country out of the economic quagmire.
He noted that the contractors do not have the full grasp of the political and economic environment prevailing in the country, and will at best; only succeed in scratching the surface of the problem.
He advocated for the right people, who would not be engrossed in partisanship, overriding personal interest, and nepotism to be appointed in the economic think tank.
Commenting on the commercial banks and their inability to lend at low rates to investors, the DG noted that sectoral borrowing should be targeted in order to add value to manufacturing, distribution of goods and services.