The Federal Government says the funds it has borrowed so far are justified because they are being used for the development of critical infrastructure that will benefit Nigerians.
The Minister of Information and Culture, Lai Mohammed, stated this at the Obafemi Awolowo terminal end of the Lagos-Ibadan standard gauge rail project.
The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that Mr Mohammed and Minister of Transportation Rotimi Amaechi embarked on an inspection tour of the 156km modern rail project from Lagos to Ibadan.
The ministers were accompanied by the officials of the Nigeria Railway Corporation (NRC), the contractor handling the project – China Civil Engineering Construction Corporation and journalists.
“There is no better way to answer Nigerians as to what we have done with the money we borrowed than this project we have inspected. This is one of the many projects that we are doing with the money we have borrowed.
“There is nothing bad in borrowing provided that such borrowing is invested in infrastructure. There is also nothing bad in borrowing provided the funds are used to create jobs and create the enabling environment for the growth of the economy,” he said.
Mr Mohammed said he was excited with the level of work done on the project and the coaches which he said can be compared to modern trains in any part of the world.
He said he was also excited with the enthusiasm of many Nigerians who trooped out in their hundreds to hail them over the project at every station they inspected.
Mr Mohammed commended Mr Amaechi for his passion for the rail project which is expected to commence skeletal services in September and full operations in January 2021.
Mr Amaechi enjoined the National Assembly to stop the ongoing probe on the loans to fast track the delivery of the rail projects.
“Why we are telling them to stop the probe is that they are not investigating corruption in the construction project itself but the issue of loan that we accessed.
“They should allow us to get the loan for the Ibadan to Kano rail project which is about 5.3 billion dollars,” he said.
Mr Amaechi said funds would not be a problem for the timely completion of the Lagos Ibadan project because they have on the ground about 1.6 billion dollars.
He said the country will be contributing between 200 million dollars and 300 million dollars as counterpart funding.