By Dirisu Yakubu
Plans by the federal government to source as much as the sum of $6.9 billion from international lenders to fight the Coronavirus pandemic has been described by the Peoples Democratic Party, PDP, as a ploy by the President Muhammadu Buhari-led government to deceive Nigerians.
Minister of Finance, Budget and National Planning, Zainab Ahmed had in a meeting with federal lawmakers recently hinted on plans to set up an N500 billion intervention fund to battle the global pandemic while also noting that government would seek foreign loans from the World Bank, International Monetary Fund, IMF and others to cushion the COVID-19 impact on the economy.
Reacting to the development, however, Deputy National Publicity Secretary of the PDP, Diran Odeyemi tasked government to come clean on what has happened to the billions of naira already donated by well-meaning Nigerians as palliatives to a vulnerable lot of the society.
He said: “It is clear that this government is now using the Coronavirus pandemic as an avenue to make more money for itself. Why do we have to seek foreign loan when the COVID-19 is a global phenomenon? Have they justified how the billions of naira raised so far have been spent?
“Across the country, people are crying of the hunger and hardship occasioned by the lockdown. Food items are not provided and the money they claimed to be sharing to the poorest of the poor is enmeshed with controversy.
“With the way things are going, it may be difficult for this government to implement any development project again. It appears they are going to tell us that they spend the remaining three years fighting the virus.”
He called on the Presidency to tell Nigerians exactly what is going on with the management of the funds raised so far and why it has become difficult to distribute food items to those that really need same this time.
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