The Federal Government slammed opponents of its regular requests for more loans on Thursday, calling them disingenuous. Lai Mohammed, the Minister of Information and Culture, represented the government at a town hall meeting in Maiduguri, Borno State, to discuss power and telecommunications infrastructure damage.
The detractors, according to Mohammed, were members of previous governments who “failed abysmally in terms of modernizing our infrastructure, even while we were earning multiples of what we earn today”.
He said that the government was borrowing to develop world-class infrastructure that would benefit future generations of Nigerians, rather than for recurrent expenditure or to pay salaries.
According to him, the problem involving the wanton destruction of public property was discussed at two town hall meetings conducted in Abuja on June 7 and July 5, 2021. The state of the infrastructure was far worse than the government had anticipated.
He said, “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”.
According to Mohammed, the list of projects being handled using the loans received by the Buhari administration is extensive.
The Debt Management Office announced that the Federal Government’s September bonds, worth N150 billion, were oversubscribed by N184.32 billion when they were auctioned on Wednesday.
READ ALSO: FG, States, LGs Share N696.96B For August
Investors pledged a total of ₦334.32 billion for the bonds, which included ₦52.43 billion for 13.98 per cent FGN February 2028 bonds, ₦125.58 billion for 12.40 per cent FGN March 2036 bonds, and ₦156.31 billion for 12.98 per cent FGN March 2050 bonds.
₦42.37 billion, ₦115.85 billion, and ₦118.83 billion were allotted out of a total of ₦277.05 billion.
“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 granted at marginal rates of 11.6 per cent, 12.75 per cent, and 13%, respectively,” according to the DMO.
“However, the original coupon rates of 13.98% for the 13.98% FGN February 2028, 12.4000% for the 12.40% FGN March 2036, and 12.98% for the 12.98% FGN March 2050 will be maintained”.
The bonds were set to be auctioned on September 22, 2021, with a settlement date of September 24, 2021, according to the document.
The debt office had previously announced that the Federal Government’s August bonds, valued ₦150 billion, had been oversubscribed by ₦210.02 billion.
The bonds obtained a total subscription of ₦360.02 billion from investors, with ₦77.69 billion for 13.98 per cent FGN February 2028 bonds, ₦104.95 billion for 12.40 per cent FGN March 2036 bonds, and ₦177.38 billion for 12.98 per cent FGN March 2050 bonds.