Wednesday, August 17, 2022

My job is to spend public funds: Tunde Fashola

Mr Fashola said this Sunday evening to deflect questions on his stance about the nation’s enormous and still rising debt profile.

• July 25, 2022
Babatunde Fashola (credit: BBC)
Babatunde Fashola (Credit: BBC)

Tunde Fashola, minister of works and housing, says his job is to spend public funds and not earn it, in an attempt to deflect questions regarding the nation’s humongous debt burden.

“I can conveniently tell you here that I am not Nigeria’s minister of finance, my job is to spend the money not to earn it, that’s my job!” Mr Fashola said on Channels TV Sunday evening to deflect further questions on his stance about the nation’s enormous and still rising debt profile.

Although, finance minister Zainab Ahmed last week implied the nation was running low on funds following her statement that Nigeria’s debt servicing had surpassed its revenue, Mr Fashola insisted Nigeria was not broke.

He argued that the nation’s capacity to repay debt amassed did not in any way signify “being broke.”

“To the best of my knowledge, Nigeria is not broke. Being indebted and being able to service your debt in conventional finance is not being broke,” argued the works minister.

He also denied the nation was battling a “debt crisis”. According to him, the finance minister only explained the “challenges of financing our (Nigeria’s) budget with maintenance of subsidy,” which does not translate to a debt crisis.

At the interviewer’s persistence to elicit a response from the minister on if he cared that the borrowing rate was becoming too much, Mr Fashola admitted he was “concerned”.  

“I am concerned and every responsible Nigerians (sic) should have his eye on the debt and you should be concerned,” replied the former Lagos state governor.

Economist Odilim Enwagbara said Mr Fashola was right that his ministry does not generate money, but that such a situation is an anomaly in itself. 

“The works ministry does not generate money right now,” Mr Enwagbara told Peoples Gazette on Monday morning. “But it should be a revenue-generating ministry like its counterparts in China and other countries.” 

“In fact, any ministry in Nigeria could generate money if they properly channel their enabling laws and potentials,” the economist added.

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