Finance, Budget and National Planning Minister Zainab Ahmed has once again defended recent federal government borrowing, insisting it has helped lift the country out of recessions.
She said so on Friday during the public presentation and breakdown of the 2022 Appropriation Bill.
“After having experienced two consecutive recessions, we had to spend our way out of recession which contributed significantly to the growth of our public debts,” the minister said in Abuja, a day after President Muhammadu Buhari presented the project. of appropriation bill to the National Assembly. .
“It is unlikely that our recovery from these recessions would have been so rapid without the sustained public spending financed in part by debt.”
Earlier, the minister said Nigeria would finance its 2022 budget deficit, set at 6.258 billion naira, through new borrowing.
The move sparked controversy across the country. Critics and opposition members have said the development, along with other federal government borrowing, is cause for concern.
Nigeria’s debt remains sustainable, says Buhari
2022: five major areas where Nigeria’s lending will be focused
Budget 2022: FG will borrow more to finance the deficit of 6.258 trn
“Our party considers it an act of wickedness that individuals who know they will be leaving office in less than two years will run up debt instead of looking for ways to reduce the responsibility they have imposed on our nation,” the Party People’s Democracy (PDP) said following Buhari’s request for approval to borrow $ 4 billion and € 710 million to finance the 2021 budget deficit.
Technically at war
But Zainab explained that the loans helped the government provide infrastructure to stimulate the economy.
“Borrowing is essential for us to make the necessary investments and to invest in the development of human capital,” she said.
According to her, with the rise of insecurity in the country, the government had to resort to borrowing.
“To make matters worse, the country is technically at war, with security problems pervasive throughout the country,” the minister added.
“This required massive expenditure on equipment and security operations, contributing to the budget deficit; The Defense and Security sector represents 22% of the 2022 budget!
She further allayed fears about Nigeria’s debts, insisting that “the federal government’s debt level is still within sustainable limits”.