June 9, 2023

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What Fashola said about Nigeria Infrastructure and Debt

  • Nigeria not Broke
  • Second Niger Bridge and Lagos-Ibadan Expressway to be ready this year

CEM REPORT  | The Minister of Works and Housing, Babatunde Fashola, has stated that the federal government is prepared to deliver major infrastructural projects to Nigerians, such as the Lagos-Ibadan Expressway and Second Niger Bridge project before December 25, 2022.

Fashola stated this during an interview on Channels Television’s Sunday Politics, where he commended President Muhammadu Buhari’s efforts in delivering the dividends of democracy to Nigerians.

Speaking on the Lagos-Ibadan Expressway project the minister revealed that all hands are on deck to deliver the project before Christmas adding that the federal government is waiting for the Oyo State Government to play its role to aid the speedy completion of the project.

“People used to do a one-week trip for a whole day so that is progress. We plan to finish this year,” the minister said.

“It is less than two hours now to go to Ibadan, you can do Ibadan and come back twice a day now and we haven’t finished. We don’t want to finish and the road is open again.

If you see, the lane marking is already going on, the road furniture is simultaneously being installed, road marking is going on and we are waiting for Oyo State Governor Makinde and I will resolve that pretty soon,” he stated.

Speaking on the delivery of the Second Niger Bridge project in the South-Eastern part of the country.

Fashola said the current administration also plans to open the bridge before Christmas, despite the challenges facing the project.

He explained that the main bridge deck has been completed adding that the contractor has been directed to deliver the project before the deadline.

“We are planning also before Christmas to open that to the public for use because that is when there is a large movement.

“Hopefully, by Christmas, it will be opened. That was the last meeting I had with the contractor about three weeks ago.”

Fashola, answering questions on the country’s financial state argued that as against popular opinion Nigeria is not broke.

He explained that being indebted and being able to service debt in conventional finance is not being broke.

“To the best of my knowledge, Nigeria is not broke. Being indebted and being able to service your debt in conventional finance is not being broke.

“In any event, you have to understand that the business of lending itself is a profitable business.  So if nobody contracted debts where will all the banks and other financial institutions be? Where will they throw all the people they employ?

“So this is a matter of credit rating and credit reputation. It is this home economics mentality that I cannot take debts that led us to take 12 billion dollars cash to go and pay off a debt we could have rescheduled, or renegotiated when our infrastructure was dying.  That mentality must leave our table.

“All the big nations we want to compete with are contracting debts to build their infrastructure and stand in the competition.  As long as you can service your debts, you are good.

“I am concerned and every responsible Nigerian should have his eyes on the debts and should be concerned.”

Recall a CEM report where the Minister of Finance, Budget and National Planning, Zainab Ahmed at the public consultation on the draft 2023 – 2025 Medium Term Fiscal Framework/Fiscal Strategy Paper (MTFF/FSP), revealed that the federal government’s total revenue was N1.63 trillion, while the debt service gulped N1.94 trillion in H1 of 2022.

Gross oil and gas federation revenue for the first four months of the year was projected at N3.12 trillion but as of April 30, only N1.23 trillion was realized, representing a mere 39% performance.

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