The Federal Government on Thursday descended on critics of its frequent request for fresh loans describing them as insincere.
The Minister of Information and Culture, Lai Mohammed, spoke for the government during a town hall meeting in Maiduguri, Borno State to address vandalism of power and telecommunications infrastructure.
Mohammed said the critics were members of previous administrations who ‘performed abysmally in terms of modernising our infrastructure, even when they served at a time when our earnings were multiples of what we get today.”
He said that the government was not borrowing for recurrent expenditure or to pay salaries but to build world class infrastructure that would benefit generations of Nigerians.
According to him, based on the two town hall meetings held in Abuja on June 7 and July 5 2021, the situation regarding the wanton destruction of public infrastructure was worse than government had imagined.
“For example, we were told that it would cost the Federal Government N3.8bn to repair just four bridges that were damaged by vandals and petrol-laden tankers. That’s a huge amount that could have been used to build new infrastructure.
“Naysayers have recently ramped up their criticism of the Buhari administration for borrowing. These critics are insincere.
“We are not borrowing for recurrent expenditure or to pay salaries. We are borrowing to build world class infrastructure that will benefit generations of Nigerians. And we have a lot to show for the loans we have taken.
“It is an irony that those who are criticizing us today performed abysmally in terms of modernising our infrastructure, even when they served at a time when our earnings were multiples of what we get today.
“Had they embarked on the kind of infrastructure development we are currently engaged in, perhaps there would have been no reason for us to borrow as much as we are doing now.
“They claimed to have spent billions of Naira in building infrastructure but as one can see, their infrastructure projects were only on paper.
“Today, we are still saddled with looking for resources to build the same infrastructure for which they claimed to have allocated huge resources. We will not be deterred by the antics of those who believe they can play politics with everything.
“Today, the standard-gauge rail lines between Lagos and Ibadan as well as Abuja and Kaduna are running well. Today, we have new airport terminals in Abuja, Kano, Lagos and Port Harcourt. Today, the Itakpe-Warri rail line that was abandoned for decades is running
“Today, we have well over 13,000km of federal roads under repair, rehabilitation and reconstruction. There is a road project in every state. Today, we have started the countdown to when the 2nd Niger Bridge, which successive administrations have built only on paper will be completed.”
Mohammed said the list of projects being handled with the loans obtained by the Buhari regime was long.
In another development, Federal Government’s bonds worth N150bn for September, which were auctioned on Wednesday, were oversubscribed by N184.32bn, the Debt Management Office has said.
The total subscription received from investors for the bonds was N334.32bn, comprising N52.43bn for 13.98 per cent FGN February 2028 bonds, N125.58bn for 12.40 per cent FGN March 2036 bonds, and N156.31bn for 12.98 per cent FGN March 2050 bonds.
The auction result showed that out of 65, 144 and 121 total bids for the tenures, 48, 127 and 95 were successful.
A total of N277.05bn was allotted, comprising N42.37bn, N115.85bn and N118.83bn respectively.
The DMO said:-
“Successful bids for the 13.980 per cent FGN February 2028, 12.4 per cent FGN March 2036 and 12.98 per cent FGN March 2050 were allotted at the marginal rates of 11.6per cent, 12.75000 per cent and 13per cent respectively.
“However, the original coupon rates of 13.98 per cent for the 13.98 per cent FGN February 2028, 12.4000 per cent for the 12.4 per cent FGN March 2036 and 12.98 per cent for the 12.98 per cent FGN March 2050 will be maintained.”
It said that the bonds for auction on September 22, 2021, had a settlement date of September 24, 2021.
The debt office had earlier disclosed that the Federal Government’s bonds worth N150bn for August were oversubscribed by N210.02bn.
The total subscription received from investors for the bonds was N360.02bn, comprising N77.69bn for 13.98 per cent FGN February 2028 bonds, N104.95bn for 12.40 per cent FGN March 2036 bonds, and N177.38bn for 12.98 per cent FGN March 2050 bonds.