Minister of Works and Housing, Babatunde Fashola has blamed former President Olusegun Obasanjo, for Nigeria’s weak infrastructural base.
According to the minister, instead of paying off the country’s external debts, the ex-president should have invested in capital projects.
Recall that between 2005/2006, the Paris Club wrote off $18 billion of the $30 billion Nigeria owed the cartel, after months of negotiations, a development touted as one of the biggest achievements of the Obasanjo-led government.
Fashola said previous governments which he said had access to a lot of money, under-invested in the country’s infrastructure, adding that if he had the $12 billion like Obasanjo, in 2005, he would have built rails and more roads.
The minister explained that rather than deploy the funds prudently, the Obasanjo decided to pay the country’s creditors to the detriment of the country, insisting that today, Nigeria has gone back to borrowing because the governments in the past ignored investment in infrastructure.
His words: “At one time in this country, in 2005, we had $12 billion. At that time, these roads were bad. At that time there was no rail. But what did we do as a matter of state policy, it was just to pay creditors to our own detriment.
“I can only imagine if I had the opportunity then with $12 billion in my hand, we would have built rails and roads. What this government is dealing with, which I am responsible for the roadside, is the infrastructure that will be enduring.
“Without the rails, we will not have roads that last. Trucks and heavy cargo is not meant for our roads. The jurisdictions we want to be like, don’t transport cargo, containers on their roads. That’s why I am so optimistic about tomorrow that if we advance this significantly, there will be a better tomorrow.
“We lost the opportunity to invest $12 billion and then we went back to borrow and the problems haven’t gone away and they will have to be dealt with.”