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‘Buhari not pocketing loans’ – Garba Shehu defends FG borrowing spree

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The Senior Special Assistant to the President on Media and Publicity, Garba Shehu, has said that the recent trip embarked upon by the President, Major General Muhammadu Buhari (retd.) to Durban, South Africa is meant to attract more investments to the country..



This as he insisted that the Buhari regime must borrow more funds as “there is not enough to go round”.

Shehu said this on Monday evening via a zoom chat on the Channels Television show, Politics Today.

Speaking from Durban, the Presidential aide said that to attend to the looming threat of a fresh strike by the Academic Staff Union of Universities, the government needs more funds.

He said, “To satisfy ASUU we need more money. We need to bridge the shortfall in the budget by borrowing more money.

“The same way we have ASUU jostling for money, we have soldiers who are being challenged by terrorists, bandits who are challenging the authority of the state, and agitators in several parts of the country who are challenging our sovereignty. And everyone is taking from the same basket.

“But there is not enough to go around. And we need to bridge the budget shortfall. There is an urgency to bridge the shortfall in infrastructure.”

Defending his principal, Shehu said “Buhari is not borrowing because he wants to pocket the money. There is functionality in our borrowing. There is a direct link between what is being borrowed and ongoing projects and the ministries of works, aviation, and transport all bear witness to this.”

Quizzed about the prudence of the regime’s spendings especially when the Presidency, in its 2022 budget had N1.6bn for the procurement of new vehicles and has allocated N5bn to that purpose in the last six years, Shehu said the vehicles being budgeted for will outlast the regime and be sued by successive presidents.

“The fact that the government is buying vehicles does not mean that it is imprudent. There was a ban on the purchase of vehicles during the last recession. We have come out of recession.


“Buhari is a President who, when he came into office, met a budget of N400m for the procurement of new vehicles. But he looked at the cars left by Mr Jonathan and saw they are still good enough. And he has used them for many years,” he said.

According to him, one of the President’s escort vehicles broke down on the way to the airport, necessitating a change of the vehicles.

“We have to renew them. And when they are renewed and a new President assumes office, he will still use them. So, this is not irresponsible,” he said.

Justifying the N21bn Presidential wing of the State House Clinic, Shehu said “The Clinic is not for Buhari alone. It will serve subsequent leaders. Going forward, no Nigerian leaders will have the excuse to travel abroad for medical treatment after this Clinic is completed.”

On why the presidency issued no statement on the raid on Justice Mary Odili’s home, he said “Executive power is domiciled in the office of the President. Whichever minister exercises power is doing so upon the permission of the president.

“If a minister such as the Minister of Justice has reacted to this issue, take it that the President of Nigeria has reacted to it. He has spoken on behalf of the president.”

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