Former Nigerian President, Olusegun Obasanjo has reportedly said he has drawn a battle line with President Muhammadu Buhari led Federal Government over proposed $29.9 billion foreign by the later.
According to Nigerian Tribune, Olusegun Obasanjo has kicked against the plan by the Federal Government to obtain a $29.96 billion foreign loan.. The former president was said to have phoned the Minister of Finance, Mrs Kemi Adeosun, shortly after the media reported the loan bid, which the Federal Government explained would be used to finance critical infrastructure deficiency between now and 2018.
But the Finance Minister, it was learnt, told an alarmed Obasanjo that she would pay him a visit to explain the rationale for the plan, which has triggered mixed reactions on the necessity or otherwise of such loan. Sunday Tribune gathered that, Obasanjo spoke on the proposed foreign loan when he received members of a political association, The National Patriots’ Movement of Nigeria (NPMN), led by the national coordinator, Chief Dosu Oladipo, at his Hilltop residence in Abeokuta, the Ogun State capital, on Friday.
Obasanjo, did not only opposed the loan bid, but also threatened to draw a battle line with the Federal Government should it go ahead to obtain the loan which he said could have far-reaching negative effects on the nation. While some experts have advised the government to deploy part of the funds reportedly recovered from allegedly corrupt politicians in the last political dispensation to such purpose, others claimed the loan could be raised internally.
Many others are concerned about the wisdom in such loan when the government was being weighed down by huge domestic debt to local contractors. Obasanjo had successful negotiated with Western nations to write off $12.5 billion foreign debt to the Paris Club, a body of European creditors during his tenure.
In justifying the proposal for the N429.96 billion external loan, President Muhammadu Buhari, had in a letter to the National Assembly said, “The total cost of the projects and programmes under the borrowing (plan) is $29.96 billion made up of proposed projects and programmes loan of $11.274 billion, special national infrastructure projects, $10.686 billion, Euro bonds of $4.5 billion and Federal Government budget support of $3.5 billion.”
But Nigeria’s foreign reserves have dipped lately, ostensibly owing to economic recession and intense pressure on Nigeria’s naira as a result of the scarcity of United States dollars.