Sani faults Senate approval of Buhari’s $22.7 billion loan request
• Says Nigeria’s Future Has Been Mortgaged To Foreign Creditors, Commissioned Agents
Civil rights crusader and lawmaker under the defunct 8th National Assembly, Senator Shehu Sani has faulted the approval by the Senate to President Muhammadu Buhari in securing foreign loans of 22.7 billion dollars for Nigeria, saying that the administration has finally mortgaged the future of the nation and further plunged it into debts that cannot be repaid in half a century.
He said considering the circumstances surrounding the approval of the loans, the country’s overall interest and its future were not taken into consideration by the National Assembly, rather the commissioned agents, who are the beneficiaries of the foreign loans, are at advantage.
Sani reacted to the approval of the lawmakers to the loans that the 8th Assembly rejected, insisting that “the approval will plunge Nigeria into a deeper pit of debt.
“It is going to mortgage the future of our children. It is unfortunate that Nigeria has exhibited the London and Paris club, and also drag itself into the Washington and Beijing club. And we are very likely to remain there for a very long time. The debt profile of Nigeria is unsustainable. Most of the reasons why we are going to borrow money are not really tenable.
“We cannot repay this debt so easily, and what I know very well is that if this debt was approved under Jonathan, President Buhari and APC could have been in the forefront of protesting against it”.
“It is unfortunate that the very people who have raised issues on our national debt when they were in opposition or in Labour, today they have found themselves to be leaders in terms of promoting and also piling up debts for Nigeria. If we are not careful the whole country will be under the control and mortgage web of those foreign creditors’ institutions”.
Sani also remarked that “foreign debt is slavery, and we have simply worked ourselves into it under Buhari,” stressing, “as far as I am concerned, we supposed not to have reached this very level of poverty in the country if the past debt profile was well managed”.
“Debt should only be for critical infrastructure that would promote development and drive growth in our country. But, how can Buhari’s government that says it is netting over one billion naira every day through the closure of borders, and how can the government that says it has saved money as a result of subsidies and other critical measures, now go to borrow billions of dollars?”
“And, if you look at the revenue profile of Nigeria today, from what accrues to the country we will continue to service this debt for over half a century. And I don’t think that will go well for the nation”.
Adducing further reasons why Buhari’s government should not plunged the country into further debt, Senator Sani remarked, “there are critical infrastructure that simply needs a private-public partnership where the private sector will invest money, at the same time the profit would be shared by the public and the private sectors”.
“We don’t need to borrow money to build airport, we don’t need to borrow money to build infrastructure that will generate money, when if there are private interest that are ready to lend their money and to invest. So, I think the administration of the National Assembly have gotten themselves on the wrong side of history by getting us into debt. And this will continue to be an issue for the next 50 years.”
He also said that the 8th National Assembly refused to grant approval to Buhari request for foreign loans in order to protect the country’s critical interest, noting that “what matters to us then is the interest of the country and not the government, and serving the
interest of somebody or becoming subservient to the executive”.
Sani further stressed: “We were concerned about our place in history and not piling up debts that the future generation will not be able to repay. So our signatures and approvals was very pressure to us and that was why we exercise restraint in terms of approving foreign loans.
“What you need to understand is that commissioned agents who facilitate this loan are only interested in their own commission. And loans are not charity, they must be repaid and with interest. So, those banks and those institutions and countries that are lending
Nigeria money are simply investing for their own children, grandchildren and countries”.
“And as it is now, we are most likely to get into a quagmire of debts. During our time we rejected approval in order to save the country and save our children from being re-colonised by foreign creditors, so we were concerned of the future of our nation”, he added.
On the 350 million dollars acquired by Governor Nasir El-Rufai under the 9th National Assembly, remarked: “I wish the Kaduna Government and people luck, but during our time we rejected the loan for two reasons, first, the state is highly indebted to the tune of over 240 million dollars and we believe that if we add 250 million dollars that willstrangulate the economy of the State and will also mortgage the future of the State”.
“And we rejected it also for the fact that there were also no defined reasons on how that money would be expended transparently. If the present National Assembly has seen it from a different perspective than the way we say it, we have no problem with that. But, I believe that history will be able to judge between the decision we took at that time and the one they have taken know”.