By Ugo Aliogo
The House of Representatives Committee on Aids, Loans and Debt Management has advocated for more powers for the Debt Management Office (DMO), Nigeria.
The House committee said the mandate of the DMO should be strengthened to include monitoring the implementation of all projects of government that is financed with borrowed funds.
The Chairman of the House Committee on Aid, Loans and Debt Management, Hon. Adeyinka Ajayi, advocated the position alongside other members of the committee at a three-day retreat for member of the committee in Owerri, Imo State, over the weekend.
Ajayi, in his keynote address at the retreat organised by the DMO, noted that it had become imperative for the DMO to be empowered to monitor the implementation of all projects financed with borrowed funds.
He argued that since it was the duty of the DMO to raise funds to finance budget deficit, “the body should as be saddled with the responsibility of monitoring implementation,” noting that this would ensure compliance, transparency and accountability.
The committee praised the DMO management for coming up with the retreat, whose theme was: Debt Sustainability and the Challenge of Financing Economic Recovery, saying that the retreat was timely, coming at a time the nation was facing some economic challenges.
Ajayi said the workshop was coming on the heels of concerns expressed by some Nigerians over the rising debt profile of the nation.
While acknowledging the prevailing economic challenges, the House Committee Chairman said the committee would work with the DMO to ensure effective implementation of the 2016 budget.
Other members of the House Committee on Aid, Loans and Debt Management emphasised the need for the diversification of the economy especially in the areas of agriculture, solid minerals and manufacturing.
Earlier in his presentation, the Director-General of the DMO, Dr Abraham Nwankwo, had restated government’s commitment to financing capital projects aimed at addressing Nigeria’s huge infrastructural deficit and repositioning the economy
The DMO boss who spoke against the backdrop of the agency’s role in the implementation of the 2016 budget, said the nation’s long term debt financing of sustainable economic recovery and growth is feasible given its abundant ideal economic capacity.
Nwankwo told members of the committee that the administration of President Muhammadu Buhari has taken a bold step to stimulate the economy by making sure that the nation’s huge infrastructure gap was quickly closed through efficient and effective application of all borrowed funds into capital projects.
Meanwhile, Governor Rochas Okorocha of Imo State, has commended the DMO for its forthrightness in managing the nation’s debt portfolios as assets for national growth.
Okorochas made this commendation when members of the House Committee paid him a courtesy call at the Government House, Owerri.