Nigeria’s infrastructural deficit, non-diversified economy and a funding gap of about $14.2 billion in the 2020 budget are the reasons the National Assembly approved President Muhammadu Buhari’s foreign loan requests, Senate President Ahmad Lawan said.
“We didn’t diversify the economy or invest in the real sectors of the economy,” Mr Lawan said at a press conference on Sunday, ahead of the ninth Assembly’s first year in office.
“Now we’ve come to a point where we have to address the infrastructural gap. We don’t have the money. If you don’t have the resources and still need these projects, will you abandon them because you want to run away from taking loans?”
The Senate President said the ripple effects the coronavirus pandemic has had on the nation’s economy, which might lead to “over 20 million job losses,” were reasons the legislature passed the president’s requests.
“We approved the loans to ensure that our infrastructural development continues,’’ Punch Newspaper quoted him saying.
Meanwhile, Mr Lawan said the insecurity challenges in the country have persisted due to international politics, which he said slows down efforts to acquire sophisticated machineries needed by the security agencies to do their jobs.
“To some extent, we are suffering from international politics. I know that in our efforts to try to buy spare parts for their jets, they may write to a certain foreign government and it will take six to nine months while another country will write to the same government and maybe (get) it in one or two months.
“Also, we need more resources for security. By resources I don’t mean just money, we need more personnel for the armed forces. We need more personnel for the police, Nigerian Immigration Service and almost all the agencies and paramilitary as well.’’
The Senate President further said the leadership of the National Assembly is poised to meet with the electoral umpire, INEC, on the proposed electronic voting starting from 2022.
“This is something we need to sit down with INEC. We believe that the electoral environment should be dynamic. Anything that will make it possible for elections to hold and outcomes to have the confidence of voters; it should receive our attention,” he told reporters.
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