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Category: Budgeting
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interview

Babafemi Ojudu, special adviser to the president on Political Matters throws light on a number of issues that arise from governance at the centre. He spoke with Tony Egbulefu and Muyiwa Oyinlola.

Looking at the executive that is controlled by the APC and the legislature that is controlled by the APC, how do you see the working relationship?

The executive is independent of the legislature and the legislature is independent of the executive. Either of them is doing its own job. Maybe one would have thought that the relationship would have been smoother, because the APC has the majority in both chambers of the National Assembly. The executive is not grudging about the legislature, theyre doing their job; those in the executive are also doing their job. Maybe as time goes on, theyll be able to harmonise positions and things will work better.

Critics say President Muhammadu Buharis trip to China to borrow the huge sum of $6billion is taking the nation back to the era of indebtedness, a problem which the former Obasanjo-led administration cleared. In fact, the renowned lawyer, Femi Falana has said hes going to challenge the borrowing in court. How do you react to this?

The point is, the country must run. When the government came in, it met a lot of problems. And again, recall there was a drastic reduction in the income accrued to the government. Oil price went down drastically. And there was a huge reduction in the foreign reserve. Government must run. You have to provide services, you have to provide infrastructure. So, what do you do?

Till date, great countries across the world still take loans. America is indebted in trillions of dollars. It depends on what you do with the money. The money in question here is not for entertainment; its not to be spent to win elections. The money here is meant to provide real services; it is meant to help in the area of agriculture, and to help in other areas where you want to diversify the economy.

So, I dont see anything wrong in taking loans. What could be wrong in taking loans is when you dont use it for the purpose for which you got it.

And I dont think that is Falanas argument. His argument is that there are other sources for which government can generate the money it wants to borrow. So, there is no controversy between the federal government and Femi Falana. Those loans are tied to projects. Its not for recurrent expenditure.