If the mood in the House of Representatives is anything to go by, the lawmakers may not approve the latest request by President Muhammadu Buhari to borrow $1.2 billion from the Brazilian government.
Feelers in the National Assembly indicate that several members are not favourably disposed to the latest request, and therefore deeply concerned about the future of the country.
Nigeria is currently bearing a huge loan burden, especially from the Chinese government.
The Minister of Finance, Budget and National Planning, Zainab Ahmed had last week disclosed that a fresh request to take US$1.2 billion loan from the Brazilian government was before the National Assembly.
She, however, explained that the loan was basically to provide funding for agriculture and appealed for express approval of the loan request by the lawmakers.
Ahmed spoke while fielding questions from the James Faleke led-House of Representatives Committee on Finance when she appeared for the budget defence at the National Assembly in Abuja on efforts to move the country towards other sources of revenue outside oil.
She also said the government is making some provisions to acquire100,000 hectares of land per State for food production, adding that roads would be built in such locations to provide access to farmers to move their produce.
Faleke had asked her why conscious efforts are not made to boost local production.
Media reports quoted a member of the House representing Mangu/Bokkos Federal Constituency of Plateau State, Hon. Solomon Bulus Maren, as expressing the fear that the government by the latest request, may be mortgaging the future of the country. He reportedly said: “It is unfortunate that we are still talking about borrowing at a time when our debt repayments are more than three times our capital expenditure.
“I hope well-meaning Nigerians will rise against the outright sale and or mortgaging of our country without tangible infrastructure to show for it. “Our recurrent expenditure is still high, the government should have come out with measures to cut such expenditure rather than at every dwindling of revenue the only option is to borrow.
“The future of more Nigerians than the participants in government are at risk. The President should preserve such future in the interest of a peaceful Nigeria.”
Another member, Hon. Ben Igbakpa representing Ethiope Federal Constituency of Delta State while bemoaning the request appealed to his colleagues to block the borrowing plans.
“It’s shameful and unthinkable that we have reduced our blessed country to borrowing from Brazil. This administration is bent on, and poised to auction our collective future. I just hope that my colleagues in NASS will think Nigeria, forget party line and block the ending borrowing plans. “This is slavery and must be resisted by all. It is time we learn to live within our means and make our clothes according to available fabrics since measuring our size is not sustainable,” he said. (The Eye Witness)