Govt. Can Borrow To Finance Capital Projects, Says ex-NACCIMA Chair | Independent Newspapers Limited
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Govt. Can Borrow To Finance Capital Projects, Says ex-NACCIMA Chair

Posted: Jun 5, 2015 at 12:02 am   /   by   /   comments (0)

By Sylvester Enoghase  – Lagos

Opponents of borrowing by the government may have lost a supporter as a former Chairman of the Nigerian Association of Chambers of Commerce, Industry, Mines and Agriculture (NACCIMA), Chief John Odeyemi, said the government could borrow to finance capital projects  for development.

He said the United States, which is the highest debtor-nation in the world, is also the most developed, adding that owing is not illegal.

He spoke at a building construction and mining mart in Lagos organised by NILE in Lagos.

Citing the Lagos State Government that was accused of owing so much, Odeyemi, defended the state as having competitive infrastructure and improving the lives of the citizens compared to other states in the country.

He said as long as what one is doing is viable, acceptable and beneficial to the people, debts accumulation was not a problem.

Odeyemi urged the new government to focus on the non-oil sectors such as mining and construction.

The former NACCIMA chair warned of the imminent collapse of the economy with the lingering fuel and electricity crises that have brought suffering to manufacturers.

”We need to take hard and realistic decisions today and next week, the out-going administration should pay the fuel marketers while the incoming government should work on deregulating the petroleum sector and let those who can import do so without government having anything to do with it,” he said.

Odeyemi said two of the companies he is involved in had a down time of between two and three weeks where staff were asked to stay at home. He advised that if it is left to linger thousands of jobs would be lost.

On high interest rate, he said it frustrates people from setting up businesses. “Small and Medium Enterprises (SMEs) can’t cope with high interest rates because they contend with a lot of other factors. Security is also an issue when the economy is down, you can’t manage security when there is no electricity, and things go wrong in dark places,” he lamented.

According to him, people who otherwise would have been engaged are left unattended to and they will have no choice but to engage in crimes. “If people cultivate their crops and can’t store them because of poor storage and electricity they will be discouraged. Steady electricity supply and good storage facility are ways to check security and poverty,” he added.