Honestly, Nigeria’s debt burden is too heavy, Lawan admits
Senate President, Ahmad Lawan, yesterday, admitted that the debt burden of about N32trillion on the economy is very high, but said: “it is necessary to help build needed infrastructure for development.”
At a media briefing on the 2nd anniversary of the Ninth Senate in Abuja, he noted that a substantial amount is owed by state governments but guaranteed by the Federal Government.
“In fact, some of the loans, the bilateral ones particularly, are even zero interest rate concessionary so to speak.
“Since we don’t have better options and not to do anything is not an option at all, we have to bite the bullet and accept the request.
“We are not doing enough to educate Nigerians on some of these issues because many Nigerians feel the debt burden is too heavy. Honestly, it is, but I think it is a necessary burden.
“Because to do otherwise will be irresponsible of any government. To keep an economy that is stagnated, we have to move on.
“But we must ensure also that those projects, when completed are able to help in revenue generation to pay for the debts.
“Before us in the Senate are two requests from the executive arm of government. One is to construct and rehabilitate rail lines to different parts of the country. The other one is to boost the economy directly, investments in agriculture and other real sectors of the economy, including mining.
“That also includes request for loans guaranteed by the Federal Government for some states. The N32 trillion you are talking about is not all Federal Government debts. Part of it belongs to the states, only that the Federal Government gives the guarantee,” Lawan explained.
He reviewed recent happenings across the country and submitted: “This is the worst we can get.”
The Senate president, however, expressed optimism that Nigeria would get out of the situation since many other countries had experienced it and came out successfully in the past.
Lawan, who spoke at a press conference in the National Assembly, in company of other principal officers of the Senate, said: “I believe this is the worst we can get. We can’t get beyond this situation. I noticed people are coming together to find a way out.
“Former President Olusegun Obasanjo and others are meeting. The President and his team are meeting too to find solutions.”
The Senate President advised Nigerians: “We should not despair because other countries had gone through this situation and had come out of it better, so Nigeria will get out of it better too.”
He said the Senate had made serious legislative interventions to address the country’s security challenges.
“The ninth Senate has, for instance, been decisive in its interventions on the problem of insecurity. We minced no words in calling on Mr. President to inject fresh energies into our armed forces to bring in new initiatives in the fight against insurgency, banditry and kidnappings,” Lawan stated.
He restated the need to overhaul the entire security architecture, pointing out that “fighting an asymmetrical war is different, and requires a multi-pronged approach, given the unconventional means of the enemies.”
“We shall continue to provide all legislative support to the armed forces, and be consistent with our constitutional roles of appropriation, legislation and oversight.”
Lawan urged Nigerians to keep on supporting and praying for “our men on the battlefield.”