Nigeria’s Minister of Information and Culture, Lai Mohammed, has played down the concerns of citizens over the nation’s increasing debt profile in China and other countries, saying that there is nothing bad in borrowing, provided the funds are invested in infrastructure rather than services or consumption.
According to a statement released by his media aide, Segun Adeyemi, the Minister said this on Saturday, August 15, while speaking with journalists after he and Rotimi Amaechi, minister of transportation, inspected the Lagos-Ibadan rail line.
Mohammed said the government does not borrow money for overhead but for capital projects.
“There is no better way to answer Nigerians as to what we have done with the money we have borrowed than this trip. On this trip, you have seen first hand the stations being constructed, the rail lines, and the people who are working on the projects.
“Rather than arguing with critics, we opted to allow you (journalists) – the ears and eyes of Nigerians – to come and see for yourselves what we are doing with the money we are borrowing.
“We didn’t borrow money for services or overhead expenditure. We borrowed money for capital projects: rail; roads; bridges; power – infrastructure generally.
“There is nothing bad in borrowing, provided the funds are invested in infrastructure, especially when it will create jobs, create an enabling environment for the economy” he said.
On his part, Amaechi said $1.6 billion is being expended on the Lagos-Ibadan standard gauge rail line and the stations.
He appealed to the national assembly to approve a $5.3 billion Chinese loan request to enable the government execute the Ibadan-Kano standard gauge rail line.