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Monday, 16 October 2017

PDP Vs APC: At war Over $5.5bn Loan Request

The Nigerian political parties, The All Progressives, Congress, APC, and the opposition Peoples Democratic Party, PDP, were, yesterday, locked in a verbal combat over the propriety of the Federal Government’s borrowing plan. The face-off follows the administration’s request for legislative approval for its $5.5 billion loan to finance the 2017 budget.

Reacting to earlier denunciation of the plan by the PDP, which accused the APC of mismanaging the “buoyant economy” it inherited from it, the APC through its spokesman, Mallam Bolaji Abdullahi flayed the opposition party for scaremongering even as it justified the loan upon what it claimed as the mismanagement of the economy by the PDP in its 16 years in power.

The PDP was quick to respond, yesterday, flaying the APC for trumping only the blame game as its lone agenda in power, saying the ruling party had shown that it was never prepared for governance.

Second Republic politician, Dr. Junaid Mohammed was quick to flay the PDP, saying the party should hide its head in shame while the Social Economic Rights and Accountability Project, SERAP, said obtaining a loan for capital projects was not necessarily a bad idea.

A management consultant, Chief Cliff Mbagwu, however, urged the administration to avoid plunging the nation into another debt trap.

The ruling party also charged members of the National Assembly to rise above the foibles of political partisanship and urgently accede to the president’s request, noting that such ambitious borrowing plans are inevitable in all developing economies. “In developing economies, governments typically resort to borrowing to finance economic development projects because taxation and other revenue streams may not necessarily provide sufficient funds for economic development.

Blaming the PDP for the country’s present position, the APC in a statement said: “If the PDP thinks that by spewing falsehood and unsubstantiated claims, the Party will return to power in 2019, then the PDP needs to seriously rethink its strategies. Nigerians are not gullible and can differentiate between a Party that brought the country to where it is today and the Party clearing the rot and rebuilding the country”, the APC declared.

The recent borrowing plans proposed by the President Buhari administration is no different as the President has stated in his request to the National Assembly that the loan will be used to finance the 2017 budget deficit and invest in critical and verifiable infrastructure project which will ultimately grow the economy.

“The PDP in its statement unapologetically claimed that it “meritoriously” governed the country for 16 years and “handed over a buoyant economy to the APC in 2015”.

According to the APC, even when crude oil sold above $100, the immediate-past PDP administration struggled to build savings, while the excess crude account was misspent. “Poor capital expenditure meant badly-needed infrastructure development was put on hold.

 Really, what could be farther from the truth?

The APC considers the claim a new height of PDP’s insensitivity to the populace and has further exposed the PDP as a Party unrepentant for the rot it left the country after its 16 years rule”, APC stated.

This forced construction companies with government contracts to cut back and sack thousands of workers.”

APC said Nigerians will sadly recall how in the lead-up to President Buhari’s assumption of office, former Finance minister and coordinating Minister of the Economy, Dr. Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala in May 2015, revealed that Nigeria was borrowing to pay government salaries. “The borrowing plan of the President Buhari-led administration is inevitable in view of the current economic realities in the country. As stated in the president’s loan request to the National Assembly, the loan will be invested in infrastructure projects such as the Mambilla Hydropower Project, Construction of a Second Runway at the Nnamdi Azikiwe International Airport, counterpart funding for Rail projects and