Chairman, Senate Committee on Local and Foreign Debt, Senator Shehu Sani, has warned all tiers of government to be weary and thread slowly in rushing to obtain loans from foreign and local Agencies in order to be free from economic strangulation.
In a keynote address he delivered at a retreat organised by the Debt Management Office held in Minna, Niger state, for members of the Senate Committee on local and foreign debts, Senator Sani said if there is however the desperate need to collect such loans, the people must be properly be sensitized and mobilized to know the purpose why the loans should be collected.
Not only that, he said such loans should be judiciously spent in order not to turn the country or state into economic slaves and beggars.
According to him, “Debt is equivalent to slavery because any country, state or individual that go cap in hand to borrow money always will eventually turn to be slaves and those involved will be bonded and silenced until such debts are finally serviced. This is why the electorate should know what the money is meant for and kick against any loan or bond that is not necessary but only meant to strangulate and enslave the people.”
Senator Sani pointed out that Politicians are not Debt Management experts but only to impress the electorate with the execution of gigantic projects no matter the debt incured and left for generations yet unborn to service.
He said Nigerians should not be deceived with the status of our economy presently pointing out that all is not well with the nation’s economy now and that all Nigerians should rise to remedy the gloomy situation.
“No doubt, our economy is in bad shape. There have been debates at different fora as to whether the economy is currently in a slow down or in recession or in depression.
“Whatever is the argument by the economists, government officials, Captains of Industries or ordinary Nigerians, the truth is that our economy is seriously challenged but the good news is that it is redeemable,” Senator Sani declared.
He however said that an effective Debt Management that will emphasize transparency, due process and fiscal discipline can precipitate a turn around in the economy, adding that debt can only be a veritable tool for economic and development only if properly managed.
Former Governor of Zamfara state, Senator Ahmed Sani Yerima in his contribution said that it is sad that some Governors pile up huge debts for their successors to battle with few months to leaving office and wondered in whose interest and who to settle the loans.
He added that if need be to legislate on borrowing towards guiding various governments from obtaining loans, the National Assembly will not hesitate to cooperate with the DMO towards this.
Director General of the Debt Management Office, Dr. Abraham Nwankwo had said that there is no sin in borrowing, but the most important thing is ploughing such loans to viable projects and also servicing it as at when due, adding that his office has no powers to regulate any government from obtaining loans especially when all the conditions are met.