President of the Senate, Ahmad Lawan, on Thursday declared his endorsement for Nigeria to accumulate more debts, stating why President Muhammadu Buhari should continue to borrow responsibly to fund critical projects.
The Senate President after a closed-door meeting with President Buhari in Abuja, on Thursday, argued that it is not feasible for the federal government to tax the citizens further in the face of the present economic situation and the nation’s infrastructure must be developed. However, he could not say if the federal government had directed revenue collection agencies to suspend operations. However, the senate president could not clarify the punishment of Nigerians with frequent increase of electricity tariffs or the increase of petrol pump price by the government.
According to Lawan: “You cannot, in my view and judgement, tax Nigerians further for you to raise the money for infrastructural development; other countries do that, but we have serious situation across the country.
“So, you cannot put taxes on the people. The only option left is for use to borrow responsibly, utilise prudently and economically, and ensure that the projects are self-sustaining; that they can pay back the loans.
“Our options are really very limited as a country. First, we do not have the necessary revenue; Nigeria is poor, we should not deceive ourselves. Nigeria is not rich given the circumstances we live in, given the challenges we have.
“Our resources are so low, our revenues are so low; therefore, the option of not doing anything just to sit (because we have no money, we should not go for infrastructure development) is not an option worthy of consideration. You cannot keep the economy stagnant.”
The senate president assured that the National Assembly would give legislative approval to the Executive loan request to fund the 2021 Appropriation Act before it embarked on a recess in July.
The senate president further affirmed that the 2021 Supplementary Bill would go through final stage before the lawmakers proceed on recess to fast-track the government’s procurement of COVID-19 vaccines and military hardware to tackle insecurity.