LAGOS- Prof. Lai Olurode, erstwhile Dean of the Faculty of Social Sciences, University of Lagos, says the fresh loan facility being sought by President Muhammadu Buhari is for the good of the country.
Olurode, on Thursday in Lagos, told the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) that the timing of the loan was also perfect as it would cushion the anticipated devastating consequences of the planned removal of fuel subsidy.
The president had on Wednesday asked the Senate to approve his request to obtain a loan facility of $800 million from the World Bank to finance the National Safety Net Programme.
Olurode said: “This loan is a safety net that will ensure that people are not drowned by the anticipated removal of subsidy. The timing is not a big deal, it is in good spirit.’’
The don said the fact that the borrowing was at the twilight of Buhari’s tenure was immaterial as the president would have had several meetings and other forms of interactions before reaching the stage where approval was now needed.
Olurode, however, expressed the hope that the loan, when granted, would be used for the good of the country.
He said that the management of borrowed funds was, however, key, hoping that the National Safety Net Programme loan would not be frittered away.
He said: “Borrowing is bad when it is acquired to meet salary needs. Rather, it should be invested in infrastructure to improve productivity and build human capacity.’’
On the impact which loans have had on the country, Olurode noted there had been improvement in the nation’s infrastructure “although we have yet to reach the pinnacle“.
“Let’s look at the Chinese loans for example. The construction of the rail line, the bridge (Onitsha Bridge) that links the east with the rest of the country, the road from Lagos to Ibadan and a few other places like that are good.
“I want to believe that, yes, we might not have reached the pinnacle and we might not have reached the peak but I think if we have to look in terms of good road network from 2015 and today, I’m sure that people would have been having good travel time unlike before,’’ he said.
Olurode, therefore, urged the incoming administration to address wastages in governance and ensure the country departed from ethnic chauvinism and religious bigotry.
He advised the new government to build harmonious relationships that would cut across the ethno-religious divides and ensure that individuals had a feeling that the country belonged to them.
He also expressed the hope that the new government would deliver on good governance by rebuilding schools and the health sector, as well as make the environment attractive for doctors and other professionals to return to the country.