‘Take $1bn from foreign reserve to finance critical projects’
A House of Representatives member, Rep. Alliyu Pategi, has urged Federal Government to take one billion dollars from foreign reserve to finance Lagos-Ibadan Expressway and second Niger Bridge projects.
Pategi made the call at the public hearing on the projects, organised by the House of Representatives Committee on Works, on Tuesday in Abuja.
He said that with over 40 billion dollars in its foreign reserve, the country could part with less than one billion dollars to fund the projects estimated at about N160 billion for completion, this year.
The lawmaker advised the Minister of Works, Power and Housing, Mr Babatunde Fashola, to apply “political will’’ and engage President Muhammadu Buhari on the issue.
“The president should allow us to take at least one billion dollars so that we can finish all these within the shortest time possible.
“It does not make sense borrowing money when you have such amount seated in an account where it is working for other economies, not employing people in our own country.
“While you champion this cause, we in the parliament will support you,’’ he said.
Pategi, who is the Chairman, House Committee on Water Resources, said that the country could not continue to construct a kilometre of road for N1billion.
He decried the high cost of delivering projects in the country, saying it was the highest in the world.
He called for measures to put an end to inflating of cost of projects.
In his contribution, Fashola said that issues of foreign reserve were beyond him, explaining and Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) and the president’s economic team could decide on the application of the funds.
Fashola said that from his primary school knowledge in economics, the foreign reserve was used for international trade and that it was important to leave some decent amount of fund in the reserve.