The Deputy Speaker of the House of Representatives, Benjamin Kalu has condemned the country’s reliance on debt at 63 years of Independence.
Kalu who expressed disappointment in Nigeria’s growing debt while speaking at a stakeholders’ dialogue on the implementation of Section 45 of the Fiscal Responsibility Act, in Lagos on Saturday, said Nigeria needs to be self-sufficient and independent instead of relying on loans.
According to the Deputy Speaker who was represented by the Chairman, House Committee on Loans and Debt Management Nalaraba Abubakar, past governments sustained budgets through loans, an approach he considered not sustainable for the development of the country.
Kalu also said that the compliance of the provisions of Section 45 of the FRA remains crucial to the banks and other financial institutions before lending to any government of the federation.
“Lending by banks and financial institutions is a contravention to the FRA 2007 is unlawful,” the lawmaker said.
However, according to the News Agency of Nigeria, Kalu said it was compulsory for banks and financial institutions to comply with the provisions outlined in Section 45 of the Fiscal Responsibility Act before they lend to the government.
The lawmaker further warned that it was important to consider the authorised borrowing limit, specified in the appropriation Act and adhere to the extant provisions of Section 45, before considering loans to any government.
He however expressed disappointment in the state governments for alleged borrowing for consumption rather than focusing on long-term capital expenditure for production purposes.
The Deputy Speaker noted that the trend worsens the country’s inflation and inhibits economic growth.
He however urged state governments to explore their own potentials and enhance local production to increase internally generated revenue instead of relying solely on the Federal Government.
“We encourage states to stop depending on the federal government and boost their local production, thereby increasing internally generated revenue.
“I commend FRC in its responsibility of keeping up with promoting a transparent and accountable government fiscal management framework for Nigeria,” Kalu said.
He also expressed disappointment that the authorities in charge of monitoring inflow of grants into the country had no proper record of the grants.
“These grants do not just pass through the thin air, but by processes, which the commercial banks are involved in.
“It is important for commercial banks to liaise with the government by making disclosure on the inflow of the grants,” he said.
Kalu explained that accumulation of those aids and grants are crippling the economy, which has become unbearable for Nigeria.
“We have billions of dollars coming into Nigeria as grants, but cannot pinpoint where the grants are going into the economy.
“So, it’s important that the commercial work together with the government to rebuild the country, because a buoyant economy would also contribute to the activities of the banks too,” he added.