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$29.9bn loan: Lagos lawmakers back Buhari

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Some Lagos State lawmakers on Wednesday supported President Muhammadu Buhari’s bid to seek external loan of $29.9 billion to provide infrastructure to revamp the economy.

The lawmakers in interviews that the step was necessary to bring the country out of recession. According to them, infrastructure development will attract local and foreign investment needed for economic growth.

Mr David Setonji, the Chairman of the House Committee on Physical Planning and Urban Development, said that loan was good for any business or country as long as it would be properly used. Setonji said that lack of infrastructure had sent many investors away from Nigeria. He said: “The president means well for this country.

For any business to grow, it requires funding. “However, we have to be careful; the problem is not loan but its management because, in the past, loans were collected for projects and the projects never saw the light of the day.

“Infrastructure remains the biggest challenge in this country, and we need it to attract investors. For us to develop, we need to provide infrastructure.

The lawmaker said that the nation would need the loan to complete critical projects. A Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) lawmaker, Mr Jude Idimogu, said that there was nothing wrong in borrowing, if the loan would be well managed. Idimogu, representing Oshodi/Isolo Constituency II said: “In our current situation, we need funds; this loan will attract foreign investments and there will be money in circulation.

“ If the loan is used to build infrastructure and institutions that will create employment, it is in order. “We need to borrow to come out of recession and build rail lines, roads, and revive moribund manufacturing industries,’’ he said.

Idimogu urged the Federal Government to utilise the loan well whenever approved by the national Assembly. Mr Nurudeen Saka-Solaja, Chairman, House Committee on Science and Technology, also told NAN that Nigeria would need to borrow money to come out of economic crises. Saka-Solaja said: “No individual, group or business can grow without borrowing.

“Most developed countries of the world borrow; so, the step to borrow is very good, but the money should be well utilised.

“We should have a breakdown of how the loan will be used and how we will refund it,’’ he urged. Buhari’s initial request for external borrowing to fund critical infrastructural projects from 2016 to 2018 was rejected by the senate on Nov. 1., for lack of detailed information.

The Minister of Information, Alhaji Lai Muhammed, has, however, said that the president would re-apply for the approval of the $29.9 billion loan.

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