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Reps fume over N5.62tr borrowing to fund budget deficit

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• Raises N669b through Sukuk bonds
• SGF, others chart ways to economic growth

The House of Representatives has expressed displeasure over the plan to borrow N5.62 trillion to finance deficit in the 2022 budget, while these agencies starve the government of fund.

It criticised some government agencies that conceal their revenues, thereby denying the Federal Government the fund for budgeting.

Chairman, House Committee on Finance, James Faleke, made this known, yesterday, at the public hearing on the 2022/2024 Medium Term Expenditure Framework and Fiscal Strategy Paper (MTEF FSP) in Abuja.

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“We are not happy the way Nigeria is borrowing N5.62 trillion and we have some fund somewhere lying fallow without being used. For God’s sake, let us build this country together for the sake of us all,” he said.

HOWEVER, the Minister of Finance, Budget and National Planning, Dr. Zainab Ahmed, said the Federal Government raised N669 billion from the Nigerian capital market through issuance of Sukuk bonds.

Ahmed said this, yesterday, at the Chartered Institute of Stockbrokers (CIS) 2021 national workshop. At the workshop themed ‘Leveraging the Financial Markets to Achieve Double-Digit Economic Growth for Nigeria’, the minister said the Federal Government, through the Debt Management Office (DMO), raised N669 billion from the capital market between 2018 and 2020 to construct and rehabilitate more than 44 roads across the six geo-political zones of the country.

THE Secretary to the Government of the Federation (SGF), Boss Mustapha, and other eminent Nigerians have said that vibrant economic growth begins from an efficient financial market capable of pooling funds from surplus area to deficit, thereby boosting investment inflow and contributing optimally to the economy. Mustapha gave the assurance also at the 2021 CIS workshop held in Lagos.

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He said government was fully committed in its efforts to douse the current security challenge and optimise investment opportunities in the country.

Represented by Permanent Secretary, Economic and Political Affairs Office, Andrew Adejo, he said government was fully aware of the plight of citizens and would remain focused on delivering on its mandate of securing lives.

Minister of Finance, Budget and National Planning, Mrs. Zainab Ahmed, said the government would continually support the nation’s capital market through policy implementation and legal enactment that will enable the market play its capital formation role.

Director-General of the Securities and Exchange Commission, (SEC), Lamido Yuguda, said with nation’s Gross Domestic Product (GDP) growth rate of -1.92 per cent in 2020 and an International Monetary Fund (IMF) forecast of only 2.5 per cent growth this year, Nigeria requires a double-digit growth rate to reduce poverty and cater for the welfare of the citizens.

He stated that double-digit growth is achievable in Nigeria, given its vast population and availability of natural resources. He also emphasised the need to urgently address the country’s high unemployment rate which currently stands at over 30 per cent.

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