Fashola slams Critics of Buhari’s Borrowing as ‘Backyard Economists’

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Babatunde Fashola, minister of works and housing, has described some of the critics of the federal government’s borrowings as “backward economists”.

In July, the Debt Management Office (DMO) released figures which showed that Nigeria’s debt increased by N560 billion in the first quarter of 2019, bringing the total debt stock as of March 31, 2019, to N24.9 trillion.

But speaking during a meeting at the Lagos Business School (LBS), Fashola said some economists who could not run small businesses successfully had been harsh on the government for borrowing to finance infrastructure projects in the country.

“Today, the government is constructing roads in every state of Nigeria and while revenues are a challenge to prompt completion, some experts who have not successfully shown they can run a small business moan the loudest about Nigeria’s borrowing to fund infrastructure investment,” he said.

“A Nigerian has borrowed billions of dollars to build a refinery, petrochemical plant, fertiliser plant and gas processing plant, yet some backyard economists complain that a country whose population is in the hundreds of millions is borrowing too much to fix rail, roads, ports (air and sea) and power.

“They come to the public space to talk about the GDP (Gross Domestic Product) and infrastructure of the United States and OECD (Organisation of Economic Cooperation and Development) countries. But they are ominously silent on America’s public debt that exceeds $21 trillion.”

He said a lot of Nigerians go on holidays to places like the US for medical treatment, seek for their citizenship, fly their airplanes and use their airports but unknowingly pay in part for the debt these countries have incurred for building the infrastructure they enjoy.

The former Lagos State governor challenged business students at the LBS to seize the public space from “those half-baked economists and enlighten the public about the necessity to invest before you can claim a dividend.”

Babatunde Fashola, Borrowing

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