Ngige confirms FG borrows from World Bank and others to pay wages
By Dipo Olowookere
Labor and Employment Minister Chris Ngige confirmed that the federal government headed by President Muhammadu Buhari borrows funds from international sources to pay workers’ wages due to a shortfall in the country.
Mr. Ngige, while speaking on Sunday evening in a program monitored by Business post on Channels TV, said the government was taking funds borrowed from foreign institutions like the World Bank to offset certain recurring expenses.
Last week, after Senate plenary resumed, a letter from President Buhari requesting approval of a new loans of $ 4 billion and € 710 million was read to lawmakers by their leader, Mr. Ahmad Lawan.
This generated different reactions from various sides. The government defended the loans, arguing that they were used to develop the country, especially in the area of infrastructure.
Amid these, the Debt Management Office (DMO) said the country’s total debt in the second quarter of this year stood at 35.5 trillion naira.
Some Nigerians had argued that this government’s penchant for borrowing became unbearable, especially when the country was using around 98 percent of income generated for debt service.
But the government maintained that the loans taken out by the federal government were not over the limit and that projects executed with the funds, including the railways, were able to generate income to repay them.
Next month Nigeria borrow between $ 3 and $ 6.2 billion with local and international investors through the sale of Eurobonds, in addition to the debts already present on the ground.
Speaking on Sunday Politics anchored by Mr Seun Okinbaloye, Mr Ngige admitted that the central government really takes funds from international lenders to pay workers.
“Let’s talk about something like residency training funds; this money was allocated in 2021. It was delayed because the president signed the supplementary budget [late] but because the medical residents didn’t want to listen, they wanted the money to go straight to their accounts, they said.
“I told them no, when the budget office explained [that] we don’t have this money borrowers [like the] The World Bank and the others will give us this money through the CBN (Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) in dollars and we change it to give to you, to pay you and others involved because we are funding the budget. through certain deficits.
“So I’m going to tell the budget office, speed up action, do this in a week because it’s an emergency, these people are not accountants, they don’t understand and we tabled it and the office budget rises up to the occasion, works day and night and turns it off, the Minister of Finance approves, the IEA (Authority to incur expenditure) and the 4.8 billion naira are there, pending to be disbursed.
“Give us the names of those who need to be paid and they bring (sic) their names through postgraduate medical school and when the names come (sic) their parent body, which is the ministry of Health, discovered that there were names that were not resident physicians. So how do you pay?
“Okay, they submitted 8,000 names, they cleaned them up at 5,800, which means about 2,000+ are not resident physicians.” How do you pay them?
“Further investigation, according to the Minister of Health, revealed that some of them are doctors, chief medical officers, senior medical advisers, who occupy full positions, some of them are not medical residents but because they were captured in the association of medical residents. , they want them to be paid; it’s wrong.
“We say to medical residents (sic): ‘give them more time to clean up’. They clean up (the list), the money is there. So I expected the resident doctors to help them clean up and submit the genuine list, ”Ngige said on the show.
Monday, speaking on Politics today with the same anchor, the president’s spokesperson, Mr. Femi Adesina, while asking if the government borrows for consumption, replied that the greater part of the borrowed funds are used for critical projects capable of stimulating the economy .