The Debt Management Office (DMO), yesterday reiterated the Federal Government’s commitment to bridging Nigeria’s infrastructure deficit to attract foreign investors into the country.
The Director-General, DMO, Ms Patience Oniha, said this while delivering the keynote address at the 4th National Budget Roundtable and Panel Discussion at the Covenant University, Ota, Ogun State.
The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that the budget roundtable was organised by the institution’s Centre for Economic Policy and Development Research (CEPDeR).
Themed: “National Budgeting for Economic Recovery and Sustainable Development in Nigeria,” Oniha noted that most of the critical infrastructure built by the Federal Government had been funded from internal and external borrowings.
She argued that the government’s borrowing was not necessarily bad if used to finance important developmental projects and programmes.
Oniha listed some of the infrastructure built by the Federal Government as the Lagos-Ibadan Expressway, 2nd Niger Bridge, train station in Iddo, Lagos, while the Enugu airport was changed from local to international.
She said: “The Nigerian government has successfully utilised borrowing as a tool for economic recovery, to bring the economy out of cycles of recessions, first in 2017 and second in 2021.
“Government borrowing can also support other sectors of the economy that attract foreign investors and have multiplier effects on the country.”
The Director-General put Nigeria’s current debt-to-GDP ratio at 22%, noting that the maximum ratio for any country is 40%. “The nation’s debt profile is fast growing as the country has a huge infrastructure deficit.
“However, the government is working tirelessly to diversify revenue sources to reduce pressure on crude oil, which is prone to volatility,” she said.
Oniha said spending on infrastructure is meant to create job opportunities for the youth.
The Nigerian government has successfully utilised borrowing as a tool for economic recovery, to bring the economy out of cycles of recessions, first in 2017 and second in 2021.
In his welcome address, the Vice-Chancellor of the University, Prof Abiodun Adebayo, said the country’s natural and human resources endowment had placed it in a position to play a prominent role in the global economy.
Adebayo stressed the need to harness Nigeria’s socio-economic potential to achieve meaningful economic growth.
“The nation’s economic growth is bedevilled by supply constraints such as a shortage of essential skills and appropriate technology to drive growth, energy, foreign exchange and unfriendly business regulations,” he added.
The Country Director, BudgIT, Nigeria, Gabriel Okeowo, stressed the need for the government to put necessary measures in place to meet revenue projection in the annual budget.
Okeowo noted that revenue shortfall had hindered the implementation of some of the critical infrastructure, saying: “The country needs to fix its exchange rate, because it is adversely impacting on the nation’s debt profile,” he said.