How Nigeria borrowed International Monetary Fund,(IMF) huge funds in 1974
By Muda Lawal, Sokoto
Fourty seven years ago, Nigeria borrowed the International Monetary Fund, (IMF) money. Today, Nigeria is owed the IMF funds running into billions of dollars underlining the waste and corruption that have held Nigerians captive for decades.
By 1974, Nigerians paid less than 200naira to travel to the United Kingdome while Visas were free. University graduates got jobs right from their final year in schools while the respect of the country across the world blossomed. Today, Nigeria, racked by misfortunes, misrule and ineptitude and at the grip of leaders without vision but bent on ruling the country by force, is seen more or less as a burden on the world.
The Minister of Finance, Alhaji Abubakar Alhaji who hosted Senator Shehu Sanni recently in Sokoto said Nigeria gave money to the IMF as a loan. The former Minister met Sanni who has been leading campaign for a new Nigeria in closed doors.
The former Minister in reports monitored by Irohinoodua told Vanaguard Newspapres that he personally signed the loan given to the IMF through the country’s Ministry of Finance.
Today, Nigeria’s loans from World Bank and the African Development Bank, (AfDB) has risen to $14.35bn in the past six years. Debt service ration has also gone up while millions of people in Africa’s most populous country have no access to water nor basic Medicare.
Alhaji Abubakar said “I weep for Nigeria for what it has become today. The country has vast resources that if well harnessed, could lead the country to greater heights.
‘’In 1974 when I was Permanent Secretary at the Federal Ministry of Finance, the IMF approached us for a loan. I signed the agreement on behalf of Nigeria. Unfortunately, today expenses of government have driven us into recession,’’ he said.
Abubakar blamed the country’s problem on over dependence on oil and the structure of the country which shield corruption and glorifies waste.
“Aside from oil and agriculture, Nigeria had industries that were earning foreign exchange for it. Agriculture and the industries were allowed to recede and when global fuel prices crashed, we are nowhere today,” he said
On the structural defect of the country he said ” The more states we have, the more corruption there is. We should have between six and twelve states. We should cut our coat according to our size”.