FG seeks to expand its loan foot prints to Latin America

It’s another Wednesday being a Nigerian in Nigeria, and the daily reminder for today of this distressing fact is the news that the Federal Government of Nigeria is looking to expand the nation’s debt by $1.2 billion.

The Federal government is looking to take a loan from Brazil – whose economy contracted by a historic 9.7 percent in the second quarter and entry into a recession has dealt a blow to the slow and fragile recovery that had been underway since 2017 – to foot it’s proposed 2021 agricultural programs, dubbed the Green Imperative Program. This program is touted to include the acquisition of 100,000 acres of land in each of the 36 states, for food production, the building of link roads from farms to markets, and subsidising the losses of damaged crops.

The agricultural sector according to the National Bureau of Statistics (NBS), noted recently that the distribution of loans under the Agricultural Credit Guarantee Scheme Fund (ACGSF) has maintained a downward trend since 2017.

A recent report showed that from 2017 to 2019, funds distribution to the ACGSF declined by approximately 31.62% from ₦11.90 million in 2017 to ₦8.14 million.

With this stat in mind, and considering that agriculture could be a major profitable sector in the country if properly invested in, it’s easy to see why the Nigerian agricultural sector is in heavy financing, ergo, the money the FG wishes to borrow.

However, Nigerians on Twitter are not responding to this move with excitement. Matter of fact, it’s proving to be an unpopular idea, largely as a result of the intended source the federal government wishes to get the funds from.

Naturally, this shouldn’t be a problem, borrowing from foreign nations has been at the heart of the development of most progressive nation in the world? However the thought of borrowing funds from a foreign nation again, highlights a disturbing upward trend of accumulated external debt, one synonymous with the Buhari administration.

Between the start of 2015 to December 2019, external debt rose from $9.7 billion to $27 billion. It’s also disturbing that there are no detailed account for these borrowed funds, and no accountability measures put in place for misappropriation of said funds.

The problem with misappropriation becomes increasingly severe when you are dealing with nations that may not settle for or take as an excuse, the corrupt shenanigans of the Nigerian government.

The fear amongst Nigerians are the potential problems that could arise when these foreign nations begin to call in their debts. This concern is very understandable, especially when you look at a nation like Lebanon which is using it’s citizens savings to pay off its debt.

The skepticism following accumulated external debts amongst the average Nigerian asides the aforementioned concern, is that the general public is never involved in the process. These debts are proposed and approved without the general public’s vote of confidence. And most times the Nigerian people can’t even tell where this money went, leaving them to imagine foul play on the part of the government.

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