REPS CAUTION JONATHAN ON BORROWING
House of Representatives yesterday accused President Goodluck Jonathan of engaging in borrowing spree. The House said by so doing the president was flouting the Fiscal Responsibility Act (FRA). It threatened to invoke the necessary provision if the president failed within 60 days to implement the Act.
The Act passed into law in 2007 places a ceiling in local and external borrowing by state and federal governments.
Moving the motion, Femi Gbajabiamila, said the Federal Government had failed since the Act came into being to implement the Act.
Describing the situation as a violation of the law of the land, he asked that the president should be compelled to, within 60 days, start implementation of the Act.
Gbajabiamila lamented that the Presidency was still engaging in borrowing spree, adding that the government was mortgaging the future of Nigeria by its action.
He said the nation's debt today stands at N13 trillion, adding that the figure would soon go up with the planned borrowing of over $7 billion.
The lawmaker observed that Greece was battling to save its head from the debt overhang as a result of unmitigated borrowing in the past.
The legislator said the president must comply with Section 42 of the Act to prevent the country from drifting to financial precipice.
Fort Dike (Anambra) said there was need to bring the executive to account. He contended that monies being laundered abroad by public officials were borrowed.
He recommended that further borrowing should be tied to projects unlike the current situation where state and federal governments borrowed indiscriminately.
Another lawmaker, Garba Shehu (Kaduna) said putting a sealing to borrowing would not only help in enthroning discipline and prudence in the system but also go a long way to improve the economy.
Jerry Mowe (Taraba) said the House did not need to raise any motion on the issue but compel President Jonathan to implement the Act.
Jagaba Adams Jagaba (Kaduna) backed Mowe's position, arguing that the House was indicting itself for not going after the executive when it saw that the Act was not being obeyed.
He said the legislature ought to have guided the president on the issue recalling that each time correspondence from the president came for borrowing of money the House never turned the request down.
The Speaker, Aminu Tambuwal, put the motion to a vote. Virtually all the lawmakers endorsed the need to compel President Jonathan to respect and implement the Fiscal Responsibility Act within the stipulated time.