Former Vice-President Atiku Abubakar has decried Nigeria’s rising debt profile, advising the Federal Government to desist from “indiscriminate lending”.
The Peoples Democratic Party candidate in 2019 Presidential Election said Nigeria is servicing its debt and not repaying it.
In a statement on Tuesday entitled, “Nigeria In Financial Crisis: Robbing Our Children to Pay for Our Greed”, Atiku said the current administration is leaving debt for the future generation.
He said, “Nothing has shocked me in my entire life in public service as the revelation from Nigeria’s First Quarter 2020 financial reports in the Medium Term Expenditure Framework and Fiscal Strategy from the Federal Ministry of Finance, Budget, and National Planning, which shows, alarmingly, that whereas Nigeria spent a total sum of ₦943.12 billion in debt servicing, the Federal Government’s retained revenue for the same period was only ₦950.56 billion. This means that Nigeria’s debt to revenue ratio is now 99%.
No one should be deceived. This is a crisis! Debt servicing does not equate to debt repayment. The reality is that Nigeria is paying only the minimum payment to cover our interest charges. The principal remains untouched and is possibly growing.
As part of an administration that paid off Nigeria’s entire foreign debt, I am concerned by the alarming and avoidable unprecedented increase in our debt to GDP ratio and debt to revenue ratio. The alarm I sounded last year is now sounding louder.
“Not only have we squandered our opportunities, we have also squandered the opportunities of our future generations by bequeathing them a debt that they neither incurred nor enjoyed.
“Nigeria is facing a crisis, and we cannot continue to keep up appearances by taking out more loans to prop up our economy. That will amount not just to robbing Peter to pay Paul, but to robbing our children to pay for our greed.”