Abuja – Mr Ralph Ndigwe, Director, Civil Resource Development and Documentation Centre (CIRDDOC), has commended the Federal Government for seeking and getting an infrastructure loan worth six billion dollars from China.
Ndigwe said this on Friday in Abuja in an interview with the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN).
He said the decision to use the loan to develop the railway would boost Nigeria’s economy.
He said poverty would be reduced to the barest minimum if better means of transportation was provided for the populace.
“If we can develop the railway transport, a lot of problems of Nigeria would have been solved.
“This is a very big country and rail transport will grant the people the opportunity to travel and do business as they wish and that will help to boost the economy,’’ he said.
According to him there is nothing wrong with borrowing as long as it is used for what would benefit the entire populace and at the same time boost government’s revenue.
“What has been wrong with our borrowing is that we spend the money on frivolities.
“But if we borrow money for infrastructural activities because we are going to get returns from them there is no problem about that.
“The good thing about it is that this loan is not in cash, unlike in the past when they go and sign the cash, come home and do whatever they like with it.’’
Also the immediate past President of the Chartered Institute of Taxation of Nigeria (CITN), Mr Mark Dike, told NAN that railway transport was very important to Nigeria.
He also commended the Federal Government for securing a loan from China for infrastructure.
“ I think the Chinese loan on soft terms will be good if they are religiously invested in infrastructure.
“If the railways are in operation a lot of our problems will be solved. There will not be danger of plying the poorly maintained roads.
“The issue of bulk movement of petroleum products and other goods that are transported by road will be cut off.
“All we would need to do is to reach those areas that the rail cannot reach using road transportation.’’
He also said that the loan would have a multiplier positive effect on the economy.
According to him, construction activities will take off in earnest because construction companies that are already comatose will begin operation.
By so doing, he said, employment would be created and both staff and construction companies would pay taxes to the government.
NAN reports that President Muhammadu Buhari has directed that technical committees be established to finalise discussions on the new joint Nigeria/China rail, power, manufacturing, agricultural and solid mineral projects. (NAN)