The President yesterday defended the borrowing by his administration, saying he borrows to enable the country fix its roads to save lives from soaring road accidents. He also asserted that his government took loans in the interest of the country to solve the dire shortfall in infrastructure.
Buhari justified his governments’ borrowing while speaking at a virtual meeting with members of the Presidential Economic Advisory Council (PEAC) at the State House, in Abuja on Tuesday.
The president said the country must fix its roads to save lives from soaring road accidents, stating further that, “We have so many challenges with infrastructure.
“We just have to take loans to do roads, rail and power, so that investors will find us attractive and come here to put their money.”
He decried that the failure to provide the infrastructure for effective transportation deprived the country of its well-deserved status as the West African hub for Air cargo transportation and trans-shipment of goods.
He noted the challenges posed by the “collapse of the oil market” and the decision of government to abide by the reduced oil production quota allocated by the Organisation of the Petroleum Exporting Countries.
“We have to accept that decision; otherwise they (Middle-East producers) can flood the market and make the product unviable. So, we have cooperated with what we get.
“With oil, we’re in a difficult situation. The politics of oil is that the less you produce, the less you earn.
Buhari stressed the position of agriculture in his government’s scheme to reduce joblessness and poverty stating that “For us to bounce back to productivity, especially in agriculture, the unemployed with many of them uneducated had to be persuaded to go into agriculture. If we hadn’t gone back to the lands, we’d have been in trouble by now.
“That’s why we virtually stopped the importation of food thereby saving jobs and foreign exchange.”
He also broached the issue of COVID-19 pandemic and how it necessitated the recent government policies as they relate to energy (electricity) and fuel. He said his government took such decisions because it placed the country above politics.
“COVID has reduced us to the same level as developed countries. We are lucky we went back to the land, we eat what we produce.
“We’re doing our best to secure the country and provide infrastructure for investment to be viable in the country,” he said.
Commending the council members for their patriotism and service to the nation, he promised to continue to draw from their wisdom, knowledge and experiences as the nation deals with challenging economic times.