The Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) has expressed worry over the recent plans by President Muhammadu Buhari to borrow $1.2 billion from Brazil.
According to the Minister of Finance, Budget and National Planning, Mrs Zainab Ahmed who disclosed the development while defending the ministry proposed budget before the House of Representatives Committee on Finance in Abuja, the loan will be used to finance agricultural programmes stipulated in the 2021 budget.
The minister said the Federal Government plans to acquire 100,000 hectares of land in each state for food production and ensure the construction is done in a way that it provides access for farmers to move farm produce to markets and subsequently reduced post-harvest losses.
The minister said, “For borrowing to improve the industry, we are before the parliament. I request for the approval for loan that we call the Green Imperative Programme which is for loan of $1.2bn from the Brazilian government.
“It is a programme that is addressing the whole of agricultural value chain from mechanisation, production, processing and selling. It is meant to lend to businessmen for tractors, plants at all levels.”
Reacting to the development, the PDP in a statement by its National Publicity Secretary, Kola Ologbondiya, said it is “alarmed by fresh plans by President Muhammadu Buhari to further mortgage our nation through an additional $1.2 billion loan from Brazil despite the public outcry against the accumulation of loans from China and other foreign interests.
“The PDP cautions the Buhari Presidency not to further weaken our nation and using nebulous agricultural programmes as justification for further accumulation of foreign loans, without clear terms and conditions, to the detriment of the poor masses and generations yet unborn.
“The party further warns that the loan request, if approved by the National Assembly, will exacerbate our nation’s debt burden, mortgage our agricultural sector, weaken our investment capacity and worsen our food security challenge.
“Our party invites Nigerians to note that with the $1.2 billion (N459 billion) Brazilian loan, in addition to the N5.20 trillion borrowing already proposed in the 2021 budget, our nation’s debt burden will hit a disastrous N36.2 trillion which will plunge our economy into a devastating pitfall.
“The PDP therefore urges the National Assembly to save the nation by being circumspect in handling the loan request in the national interest.
“Instead of this recourse to reckless borrowings, the PDP urges the Buhari Presidency to apply itself productively by looking inwards and finding ways to harness and create wealth with the resources abounding in our country.
“What Nigeria needs now is for government to be more innovative and resourceful in galvanizing a productive economy instead of reducing our nation to a beggar status among the comity of nations”.