The Special Adviser to President Muhammadu Buhari on media and publicity, Femi Adesina has said Nigeria has more capacity to take new loans, contrary to what critics of the government were saying.
According to him, there was nothing wrong in taking more loans to finance specific projects, calling on those criticising efforts in borrowing to develop the country, to desist.
Adesina stated this in a radio phone interview with Ibadan, Oyo State based Fresh FM on Sunday.
The presidential spokesman also said there was no need for Nigerians to raise concern about the country’s rising debt profile because the Buhari administration was applying loans to the specific projects they were meant for.
Adesina also pointed out that though the country’s debt profile was high, it was largely borrowed by previous administrations. He however contended that the current figures were within the capacity of the country’s Gross Domestic Products (GDP) to service and repay.
Adesina said: “Don’t forget that the International Monetary Fund (IMF) came out to say that Nigeria’s economy has the capacity to absorb more loans and that Nigeria is taking below what its GDP can afford. IMF said it and it is on record. Nigeria’s GDP can service more loans than it is taking. That is a vote of confidence in Nigeria’s ability to repay the loans it is taking.
“Taking loans to use for development is not a crime. But taking loans to steal and pocket as we used to have it in this count; ry is what is criminal. You will find out that even the profile of the loans, Nigerians don’t know it.
“Even former president Olusegun Obasanjo gave a lecture where he quoted a figure about what Nigeria owes. The Debt Management Office (DMO) had to come out to correct him. I think he quoted something in the region of $90b or $100b debt.
“The DMO office came to say all that this administration has taken is a little over $20b. The DMO also told us what the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) government left as loans and debt. So, a lot of commentators don’t know the correct profile.
“The loans will be used for development, for provision of infrastructure, open up and stimulate the economy. These loans are good because they are used for development and that is what this administration is doing. The loans are within tolerable limit.
“So, those who are making noise about loans, particularly the outgone government, are only shedding crocodile’s tears because under them, they took loans and pocketed the money and we didn’t see what they did with the loans. But Nigeria is now taking loans and Nigerians can see what the government is doing with the loans.”
Adesina, who contended that the government could borrow more money to revive the economy from the consequences of COVID-19 if it considered it appropriate, assured that the Buhari administration was already considering all possibilities in its efforts to mitigate the effects of the pandemic.