Olugbenga Adanikin, Abuja
The Emir of Kano, Sanusi Lamido Sanusi, yesterday kicked against plans by President Muhammadu Buhari to seek the approval of the Senate for $30 billion loan.
The former Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) Governor said even if the Senate gave its ascent to the loan, no country or global financial institution would be willing to grant the request.
Sanusi, during a policy dialogue forum organised by the Savannah Centre for Diplomacy, Democracy and Development (SCDDD) in Abuja disclosed that for a nation that has five different exchange rates, it would be difficult for such request to scale through.
He said the nation’s foreign exchange lacks credibility, hence the federal government needed to embrace private sector investments as a means of growing the economy out of recession.
Sanusi emphasised that oil cannot help the nation out of its current economic situation and would “never make Nigeria ýrich.”
He said: ý”I can tell you for free, if the Senate today approves that we can borrow $30 billion, honestly, no one will lend us. It should be approved and I will like to see how you will go to the international market with an economy that has five exchange rates.
“There is one rate for petroleum marketers, there is inter-bank rate, there is another for money market operators such as Western Union, Moneygram, there is bureau de change rate and there is a special rate you get when you call the CBN for a transaction.
“So who will borrow you when they don’t know your exact reserve and exchange rate? I want to see who will borrow you money when the Niger Delta bombing of oil is there ýwhen the main source of the loan repayment is oil.”
He noted that the country’s population continued to grow to over 40 million people since 2015, yet government found it hard to increase capital expenditure.
He warned on continuous dependence on China as good ally, adding that imports from China have scrapped the nation’s local industries.
“We trust China too much. We need to be very careful. They are killing our textile and other industries and yet selling to us,” he added.
However, he urged the federal government to reduce its debt service through greater loan concessionary.
He said the country has in the past 15 years been borrowing money to pay salaries and for fuel subsidy, and there are possibilities for the nation to keep borrowing in the next 15 years as sums that have been borrowed were not channeled into health, power or infrastructural development.
Sanusi said the June 2016 forex reform should be implemented to unite the market through single transparent rate rather than creating four new rates.
“The Senate should support tax incentives and other benefits to encourage private sectors,” he added.
In his remark, former Anambra State Governorý, Peter Obi, called for drastic reduction in the cost of governance.
He said only four states in the country are viable yet they are burdened with huge debts such as overheads.
Obi called for a change of attitude in government activities. (The Nation)