Alhaji Abubakar Alhaji, the Second Republic’s Minister of Finance, revealed Wednesday that the International Monetary Fund (IMF) borrowed money from Nigeria in 1974.
Alhaji claimed he signed the loan deal when he was Permanent Secretary at the Federal Ministry of Finance and revealed this when Senator Shehu Sani made him a private visit in his Sokoto house.
“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,” the former Finance Minister remarked, without specifying the sum involved.
“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 the government have driven us into recession,’’ he said.
He went on to say that Nigeria’s overdependence on oil was the result of the country’s economic woes.
He said: “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.”
Alhaji went on to say that the current 36 states were too many and had created corruption, as well as that the government’s spending was excessive.
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.”
In response to the Biafran agitation, the former Minister stressed that Nigeria should remain together, stating that “there is nothing better for us than a united Nigeria. We have potentials that could be harnessed and enjoyed together.”