President Muhammadu Buhari Tuesday justified government borrowing to finance critical infrastructure.
Buhari said that his administration took loans in the interest of the country to solve the problems of shortfall in such infrastructure.
The president spoke at a virtual meeting with members of the Presidential Economic Advisory Council, PEAC, at the Presidential Villa, Abuja, pointing out that the country must fix its roads to save lives occasioned by incessant road accidents.
His words, “We have so many challenges with infrastructure. We just have to take loans to do roads, rail and power, so that investors will find us attractive and come here to put their money.’
He lamented that the failure to provide the infrastructure for effective transportation made impossible for Nigeria to take her position as the West African hub for Air cargo transportation and trans-shipment of goods.
On economy, Buhari said the “collapse of the oil market” and the decision of government to abide by the reduced oil production quota allocated by the Organisation of the Petroleum Exporting Countries, OPEC, posed serious challenges for the country.
“We have to accept that decision; otherwise they (Middle-East producers) can flood the market and make the product unviable. So we have cooperated with what we get. With oil, we are in a difficult situation. The politics of oil is that the less you produce, the less you earn,” he further said, adding that
the position of agriculture in the government’s scheme was to reduce unemployment and poverty.
He further said, “For us to bounce back to productivity, especially in agriculture, the unemployed with many of them uneducated had to be persuaded to go into agriculture.
‘‘If we hadn’t gone back to the lands we would have been in trouble by now. That is why we virtually stopped the importation of food thereby saving jobs and foreign exchange...
“COVID has reduced us to the same level as developed countries.
‘‘We are lucky we went back to the land. We eat what we produce. We are doing our best to secure the country and provide infrastructure for investment to be viable in the country."
Earlier, the Chairman of the Committee, Prof Ayo Salami had highlighted the Council’s recommendations on poverty reduction and stimulation of non-debt investment inflows, as well as steps for the effective implementation of government’s plan to lift 100 million Nigerians out of poverty, to reduce poverty in the country.