The chairman, Senate Committee on Army, Senator Mohammed Ali Ndume, has urged the President Muhammadu Buhari-led federal government to secure loans for agricultural development in the country like being done in the transportation sector for infrastructural development.
Ndume, who represents Borno South senatorial district of Borno State in the senate, said such initiative would generate employment and guarantee food security including transformation of Nigerians from subsistence to mechanised farmers.
The lawmaker made the call, among others, in his Democracy Day message personally signed by him and sent to journalists in Abuja yesterday, in which he congratulated Nigerians on the commemoration of June 12.
He noted that the idea of obtaining favourable foreign loans by the Nigerian government wasn’t a bad one so long the money would be used judiciously for developmental projects and not frivolities or government’s recurrent expenditures.
“Concerning the issue of foreign loan borrowings, the problem is not about borrowing because the idea is not bad. Even developed nations also do the same thing. It is what the government does with the money that is important. The concentration on infrastructural development by the Buhari administration, especially in the area of railway and road infrastructure is commendable.
“The federal government should look at the possibility of borrowing for agricultural development so that our people will move from subsistence farming to a mechanised one. If that is achieved, it will generate employment and guarantee food security. Also, there would be no need for Nigeria to spend foreign exchange on food importation.
“We can produce all types of food in Nigeria only if the farmers are well funded. The borrowings should be spent on purchase of farm implements and other farming machinery and make it available to farmers,” Ndume said.
He added that the external loans should also be used to fund moribund industries across the country especially textile and spare part manufacturing, among others.
“It is only through that the government can guarantee borrowings because the manufacturing industries will come up again through the Manufacturers Association of Nigeria.
“The government can serve as a guarantee for the loans so that MAN would coordinate the process of resuscitating the moribund industries that had been closed down.
“The loans should be borrowed from the international lending agencies whose terms are very good in order to develop our road infrastructure and mount toll plazas in order to generate revenue to pay back the loans.
“Borrowings should not be made to defray recurrent expenditure like payment of salaries. Funding for such purposes should be sourced locally from taxes and other internally generated revenues,” Ndume stated.