Minister of Finance in the Second Republic, Alhaji Abubakar Alhaji, said yesterday the International Monetary Fund, IMF, borrowed money from Nigeria in 1974.
Alhaji, who revealed this when Senator Shehu Sani paid him a private visit in his residence in Sokoto, said he signed the loan agreement when he was Permanent Secretary at the Federal Ministry of Finance.
The former Finance Minister, who did not disclose the amount involved, said: “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.
“In 1974 when I was the 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 government have driven us into recession,’’ he said.
He added that Nigeria’s over-dependence on oil was the result of the economic problems the nation was plunged into. 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 further noted that the present 36 states were too many and had bred corruption, noting that government’s expenditure was on the high side.
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.”
On the Biafran agitation, the former Minister said Nigeria should remain united, noting “there is nothing better for us than a united Nigeria. We have potentials that could be harnessed and enjoyed together.”