Adeosun backtracks, says govt will continue borrowing

In an apparent reversal of her earlier position that the Federal Government can no longer continue borrowing, the Minister of Finance, Kemi Adeosun, through an official statement from her ministry, stated that borrowing will continue in order to pursue the Economic Recovery and Growth Plan (ERGP).

Adeosun had said on Tuesday at the Presidential Quarterly Business Forum at the Presidential Villa in Abuja that the Federal Government “cannot borrow anymore.”

She stated that “We cannot borrow anymore, we just have to generate funds domestically enough to fund our budget, mobilize revenue to fund the necessary budget increase.”

She added that “Given the reform in the Federal Inland Revenue Service (FIRS), the country can raise the needed fund within its shores.”

But in the statement released by the Director of Information, Federal Ministry of Finance, Mr. Salisu Na’Inna Dambatta, he said, “Nigeria will continue to borrow. Nothing has changed”. According to Dambatta, the present administration’s ERGP provides for an increase in spending over a three-year period. This he said was reflected in the 2017 budget.

He added that, “In 2017, the government is committed to spending N7.44 trillion, with a projected fiscal deficit of N2.356 trillion, which will be funded by a combination of domestic and international borrowing.

“Nigeria’s debt to GDP ratio is low when compared to our contemporaries in Africa, and across most of the developed world. We have headroom to borrow and are doing so aggressively in the short to medium term in order to address our infrastructure deficit and to stimulate growth.

By Ebere Ndukwu …

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