Senate, at the weekend, advised African countries and their developing counterpart across the world against continued borrowing without caution, saying such action would lead them to new colonialism and slavery.
Chairman, Senate Committee on Local and Foreign Debts, Senator Shehu Sani, who spoke at a three-day retreat with theme; “Processes and Procedures for External Borrowing and Settlement” organised for members of the committee by the Debt Management Office, DMO, in Minna, Niger State.
Senator Sani (APC Kaduna Central) said, “African nations including Nigeria must free themselves from the debt trap and think of alternative sources of funding their developmental activities.
“Debt is the new colonialism and slavery, African countries and developing nations must thread with caution. Global politics and economics are now used to chain them and reverse their political independence and sovereignty,” he added.
He stated in his keynote address that “In as much as Nigeria and other developing nations need to borrow from local and foreign sources, we must be careful not to pile up debt for future generations without commensurate and visible infrastructure and legacies to justify such liability.
“Africa and indeed Nigeria is still in the obit of imperialist economic grip. Africa’s ruling political elite still live in the illusion that foreigners as foreign investors will still come and build and develop their countries. The moral and economic scores of any government is not about the wealthy it created but the poor it lifted out of poverty.
“If we continue to legitimise borrowing without caution, we will end up buried in debt. Each time a nation borrows, it morally parts with a potion of its dignity until such loans are repaid,” the lawmaker stressed.
Sani, who is also the Vice Chairman, Senate Committee on Foreign Affairs, stressed the need to create a citizen advocacy on debt awareness to sensitise and conscientise the public on the relevance and implications of borrowing since they are the ones to ultimately pay for it.
“If we pile up a mountain of debt without justification for it, our children will walk pass our graves covered with weeds. Foreign loans given to African states attached with political condition which undermines their political independence and sovereignty should be outrightly rejected,” he advised.
The committee chairman, however, expressed confidence that President Muhammadu Buhari’s administration would prudently utilise the loans that it secured on behalf of the country as against the practice of previous administrations.
In his remarks, Director-General of the DMO, Dr. Abraham Nwankwo, explained that the federal government does not just borrow for borrowing sake, but to address the challenge of development and infrastructure growth.
Nwankwo said the workshop was organised not only to keep the lawmakers abreast of developments in the debt sector, but to get their buy-ins in the DMO’s drive to seek for funding from the capital market.
He clarified that the National Economic Council had not barred state governments from raising funds, but only against borrowing from commercial banks while it also supports states seeking for capital from bonds, which is cheaper and more sustainable in the long run.

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