Nigeria owes $60 billion, says Osinbajo

Prof. Yemi Osinbajo, Vice President of Nigeria
Prof. Yemi Osinbajo, Vice President of Nigeria

The Vice President-elect, Yemi Osinbajo, on Wednesday said Nigeria’s local and foreign debts now stand at $60 billion.

He stated this in Abuja while declaring open the two-day Policy Dialogue on the implementation of the Agenda for Change organised by the Policy, Research and Strategy Directorate of the APC Presidential Campaign Council.

Mr. Osinbajo, who painted a gloomy picture of the nation’s economy, also lamented that most of the states cannot pay salaries on account of the country’s dwindling resources.

He said, “Local and international debt stands at US$60 billion. Our Debt servicing bill for 2015 is N953.6 billion, 21 per cent of our Budget. On account of severely dwindled resources, over two-thirds of the states in Nigeria owe salaries. Federal institutions are not in much better shape. Today, the nation borrows to fund recurrent expenditure.

“This is also against the backdrop of a highly unequal society in which, by some reckoning, the largest chunk of the benefits of our national wealth accrues to a small percentage of our population. Our manifesto offered a vision of shared prosperity and socio-economic inclusion for all Nigerians that leaves no one behind in the pursuit of a prosperous and fulfilling life.

Mr. Osinbajo, who pointed out that an estimated 110 million of the country’s population are living in poverty, said the figure confirmed the biggest national problem is extreme poverty.

He added that of big concern to the government is the economy, which according to him is currently at its worst moment in history.

He said the need to effectively tackle these challenges necessitated the need to interrogate various positions and propositions before a wider audience and launch a robust public conversation on policy directions and priorities that will help inform the administration’s approach in the next four years.

Mr. Osinbajo said the dialogue exemplified the sort of consultative and consensual approach to policy making that the APC and the new administration intend to model in office.

He said, “The figures of extreme poverty in our society- 110 million by current estimates- makes it clear that our biggest national problem is the extreme poverty of the majority.  Thus, no analysis is required to conclude that dealing with poverty and its implications is a priority.  We are concerned that our economy is currently in perhaps its worst moment in history. 

The vice president-elect also assured that the APC federal administration, which will be inaugurated on May 29, would pay attention to education, especially teaching methods by teachers.

He said the administration would make the training of teachers a priority even as it plans to review school curricular and partner the civil society in the quest for qualitative education for students.

The Head of the Policy, Research and Strategy Directorate of the APC Presidential Campaign Organisation, Kayode Fayemi, in his address, explained that the Dialogue was convoked in order to demonstrate to Nigerians that the APC government would seriously tackle the issues affecting their lives.

Mr. Fayemi, a former governor of Ekiti State, noted that the party ran a unique campaign that was issues-based and principle-centred during the last general elections.

He said the APC believed that the stakes had never been higher in the country’s history of democratic politics and that a new approach was required.

This new approach, he stressed “was evident in our disciplined refusal to depart from a laser-keen focus on the real issues affecting the Nigerian people rather than traffic in distractive rhetoric.”

He added, “Our approach focused on the electorate as being worthy of serious and sincere engagement and sought to bring clarity to the issues at stake.

“The outcome of the historic polls attests to the fact that not only did the right candidate and party triumph, the right ideas and the right approach also prevailed.

“The majority of Nigerians demonstrated their readiness to be taken seriously as voters, and duly rewarded the party that sincerely addressed their pressing issues.

“This commitment to seriously tackling the themes that affect the lives of our people remains a cardinal principle of our pact with Nigerians and informs the convening of this policy dialogue.”

Mr. Fayemi restated the need to evolve new strategies that would guide the new administration in its delivery of democratic dividends so that it could take off on a positive note and positioned in a way to sustain its pre-election popularity.


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  • segun_fiki1

    The same Fayemi that constructed a 3-Billion Naira edifice in his one term in office as Governor of the supposedly “agrarian” Ekiti State wants to sermonise and pontificate on fiscal responsibility? Wonders shall never end!

    • joe

      Say Hi to Governor Fayose during your next meeting with him 🙂

  • Robert

    The blame game has started again. Every incoming government always seeks to blame previous government. If you cannot take the heat, get out of the kitchen. Mr Vice President this is what you signed up for. Global oil prices are not in our favor. We are running budgets where our salaries and recurring expenditure is 70% of our budgets. Guess what will happen when income drops by 50%. Start coming up with creative ideas/solutions instead of looking for who to blame.

    • joe

      My God!!!..The only sensible reaction you have to this is “The blame
      game has started..” ???? The whole of Africa is on fire because the
      whole continent’s political scene have been hijacked by robbers.There is no avoiding to discuss how 60Billion+ dollars in debt was incurred within 6 years and during a time of oil Boom (I am not even mentioning the 63 Billion dollars OBJ left behind) . We need to know where all the money went to. The only people that have issues with talking about this are mostly the beneficiaries of the loot.

    • share Idea

      You don’t need to waste your time with these jesters, they called a dedicated and hard working president clueless and without evidence. Easy to criticise when outside, I pity people that have so much hope on this APC strong individual miracle.

      Gej is a process person and he believed in building institutions which the bedrock of democracy but since gullible masses believe in strong individual, lets see how far this can take us – Nigeria we hail thee

  • obamajack2

    Nigeria go survive oooh. Most of these debt ended up in some of our politilootcians foreign accounts. The poor masses are now bearing the brunt. How I wish that Buhari will hunt them down to serve as a deterant to other criminals at the corridor of power.

  • Tope

    O-SHITbanjo shud shut up. By the way, where is your PhD thesis? Let Nigerians see it. Present your letter of appointment as Prof & how many ‘relevant’ publications do you have? They assemble a band of clueless, visionless mediocre failures and they rebrand them and present them as the ‘best’ for Nigeria to satisfy the ethnic agenda and hunger for power by a docile section of Nigeria. This wont last bcos people will revolt in due course.

    • tundemash

      F00l.. google Osibajo’s name.

    • Wau

      You should be ashamed of yourselve Mr. You must be an Ibo man pretending to be Tunde. Prof. Osinbajo have all his facts and majority of Nigerians are sure and aware of what he said about extreme poverty with PDP has taking the nation to.

      • Jacky

        Femi Fani-Kayode and Gani Adams,”PhD” must be Igbos too!

    • bikky

      So,you are this so stupid,do you Ned PhD thesis to know that Nigeria is in debt. I pity you as an individual.

    • share Idea

      My dear, pls don’t mind the jesters. Same way the NGF assembled themselves a few days ago to demand details of fathom missing $20b. Fayemi that was owning three months salaries before he left office is seeking public relevance.

      Are they just realising that Nigeria is having quite a huge debt or does it mean that they have been blind to budget details of the current administration all these while and they campaigned on building mansions on rivers – stabilising price of crude oil and making Naira to be at parity to dollar.

      These their excuses will never help them as reality is gradually setting in – easy to criticise when outside

      • Dave

        Typical of Easterners, keep defending ineptitude, corruption and incompetence. That is why you guys have rendered your “Nation” inhabitable and are allover the place , still spreading your lack of values and lack of principles and calling it “business”. Committing crime is different from doing business!!

        • share Idea

          Igbos are still citizens of Nigeria and they are entitled to reside in any part of Nigeria.

          If any part of Nigeria is developed Igbos will enjoy it because will like to call anywhere we reside as home. can the same be said of other tribe. The current administration is the only one in recent history that has not had massive Igbo support – Igbos been in opposition, does this suggest that Igbos don’t believe in other tribes when in power – no.

          Igbos are hard working and competitive people an to a large extent like a fairer society but they are some sections of the country that are happy when system is distorted in their favour.

          I like Nigeria as one country as there are so many benefits more than disadvantages. however, people should understand you need a bit of ‘give and take’ for us to manage the heterogenous nature of our country and this where the last national conference comes to mind.

          The report needs to be revisited with a view to implementing the laudable objectives.

          • Jacky

            You have the right to your opinions, but honestly, your mentality is inadequate and does not qualify you to speak on behalf of the Igbos on any subject…..I don’t care what!

          • share Idea

            Please learn to pass your view point across without insult.

        • Jacky

          It is mere stupidity to assume that anyone who posts a silly or uninformed comment comes from the East. There are silly people from every Region or Tribe in Nigeria. Shekau, Asari, Gani Adams are not Easterners, but they sometimes act silly or issue irritating statements. To make such sweeping condemnation of Easterners is disrespectful, hateful, and unhelpful. Don’t let your brain to be abandoned by civilization and socialization.

          • Tonnero

            While I agree that not everyone who posts a silly comment is from the East, too many of them are and @shareidea:disqus definitely is since we know him on this forum. And it is not hate, it is confusion and, perhaps, frustration that such an otherwise smart set of people would fail so completely when it comes to supporting the right things and basing positions on principle rather than emotions.

        • Memphis

          Get out of your xenophobic cave, dave. Face the issue and quit throwing tantrums. The North are set and ready to fire from all cylinder and soon your skunk head will get to know how daft you and your lot are. If you truly believe your tribal politics will get you anywhere off your filthy pit, then you are badly in need of a psychoanalyst. Alliance with a confirmed drug peddler and addict, Tinubu by the North was only an end to a means and soon you xenophobes will get it the hard way.

      • Jacky

        Did your comment explain why there shouldn’t be any questions asked about a whooping $20bn which is missing? You mean there shouldn’t be accountability in Nigeria anymore. My God! Many Nigerians need psychiatric evaluation!

    • Femi

      Just Google Osinbanjo or check his LinkedIn profile and your questions will be unnecessary. The first lesson of scholarship is ” do the research” then and only then give us your synTHESIS

    • Olusola

      This boy, you well so?

  • tundemash

    …… and Jonathan is richer by $5bn.

  • Onyedikachi122014

    It is not news that the politricians used a massive amount of money (naira and dollars) to execute the election campaign. A lot of these money are still in people’s pocket. Those in this category should be made to vomit the money they swallowed.
    Secondly, the national assembly should cut down their pay by 75%. GEJ cabinet should be made to refund the amount in their custody.

  • Udom

    It is pitiful to read about states not being able to pay salaries and service their debts. I’m equally surprised when they expect the federal government to foot their bills. This is not only dishonest, but also a blatant shirking of their responsibilities. There is a reason why people agitated for their own states. They pursued these entitlements because they felt they were capable of running their affairs. I for one, have no issue with a people realizing their goals of “independence.” However, I bulk at the temerity of these same states asking the federal government to foot their bills. Any entity that has been designated and recognized as a state ought to be able to source for funds and be capable of keeping up with its fiscal responsibilisties. Interestingly, the indigenes of these states who clamored for statehoods are disturbingly quiet. These same citizens have not exercised their rights by marching down to their state assemblies and governors’ mansions demanding a solution to the budget issues confronting their states. Rather, they award some of the ex-governors free sides to the national assembly. Madness.
    My advise to these states’ citizens is this. Stop allowing the parties to put for candidacy any person that has no proven record of a successful business past. Don’t elect people to your states houses of assemblies simply because they are related to you or offered you money. These bad decisions will come back to haunt you, your children and your states. Have the wisdom to realize your mistakes and take steps to correct them after the first term when an office-holder has not met your expectation. Cut them lose! A governor and a state assembly have enormous responsibilities to ensure a state’s economy stays healthy and to present a better fiscal state when they depart. Insist on a yearly state-of-the state report from your governor. The state assembly, the state chief accountant and the attorney-general must all attest to the veracity of such a report. Citizens can then make informed decisions whether to continue to support the legislative and executive branches of government. Check and balances must be the hallmark of any democracy; even at the rudimentry level of local government. It is time for citizens to stop being lazy and get actively involved in their state affairs. It is their future that is at stake. The state assemblies have ensured that the ex-governors can run to Abuja and hide in the new retirement homes provided them in the most underhanded manner. They have nothing to lose. Madness.

    • Tonnero

      Udom, it is not correct to say the federal government foots their bills. Our current tax framework is that the federal government collects certain taxes, tariffs, charges etc on behalf of the FEDERATION. The federation consists of the Federal Government itself, the star governments and the local governments. Once collected, these taxes are now shared according to the revenue formula. This can, of course, be done differently (for example, states collecting their own taxes and remitting a certain portion to the federal government to run central services like security, customs, immigration, foreign affairs etc.). While I agree that the states should expand their revenue generation to include other areas not in federally collected revenues, the feeling that the federal government FINANCES states is far from the truth.

      • Udom

        Thanks for your comments. In response, I would agree with you if the dispensation in question is none other than our beloved nation. This is sadly not the case, for one sad reason. Oil. Every state in Nigeria looks up to the federal government to fund most of their budgets because we pump liquid gold. Look at the budget allocations. Most states in Nigeria couldn’t make it past the “Park” gear if not for federal fundings. It reminds me of pigs at the trough or pups with their mouths latched on to the national teats. Every state wants a piece of the action- the national cake as it’s been aptly described. Two days ago agogovernorthe Borno state governor, Kasdim Ibrahim appealed to a yet-to-be-sworn in Buhari for a 13% allocation of petroleum revenue. You can’t this stuff up. Why did this man run for state office if he lacked the wherewithal to run things? It underscores what I said about a preliterate culture that has been allowed to fester and grow like a bacteria on an agar medium. Everyone of us is guilty for allowing our fellow Nigerians in the north not to gain the education and sophistication needed to discern able leaders from the clowns running the offices. Granted the lack of enlightenment permeates nationally. Akwa Ibomites (I’m one) allowed the state assembly to connive with Akpabio in awarding him a retirement package that defies logic. In Bornu state the situation with our brothers and sisters is dire. Is it little wonder that Boko Haram took advantage of a bad situation? Rather than dispense money to states willy nilly I would like to see a president Buhari call a meeting of bright minds– economists, business owners, entrepreneurs, trade schools managers. We need to look at our economic landscapes across the nation and identify where the resources are in every state. We need to come up with an efficient tax code that allows each state to maximize revenues from sales, workers and other area of commerce. You can’t tax what you don’t have. This would give every government the incentive to work harder to get as many people as possible gainly employed. When state governors bevome dedicated to their sworn duties to providerather than look

        • bib

          You almost said it all. The problem is not the money being shared by the federal govt. Besides oil money FG commands more money spinning avenues than the states. Custom and excise, port charges, PAT of ltd liability companies, etc. The problem is kleptomania. Anybody put in charge of public funds assumes ownership. He reports what he likes and keeps what e likes. The impetus to think on how to bake more cake for the benefit of the populace no longer exist. You may be right that the black gold is to blame.
          Indeed the achievements of the NAs when there was no oil boom were more than that of the present day govts. Eg. Kano NA electrified Kano city and provided pipe borne water.
          Bida NA provided free and qualitative education and health services as was true of all Northern NAs. They therefore had to be looking for more areas of genarating more revenues.
          Solutions are three. enlightenment, enlightenment, and enlightenment.

    • bib

      Good thesis. But citizens in this country have been totally educated to believe that the state wealth belongs to Mr President, State Governor or LG chairman to do as he wishes with. Even a PHD thinks that way. So there is real need for re education of the populace. Let them know that the state wealth belongs to them. Political leaders are only elected to manage it for their best interest.

      • Udom

        Thank you. I couldn’t agree more about the need for an educated population. I would go a step further and use the word “enlightened.” Considering the staggering amount allocated to the federal assembly in comparison to education and civic awareness, the last thing the political operators want are citizens that know their rights and demand better governance and accountability from their true servants. We elected and sent them to the various local councils, state and national assemblies. Somehow, the roles got reversed. The servants–the elected (in the absence of close supervision by their masters-the citizens) decided to exceed their mandates. We have to continously remind them they serve at our pleasure and we reserve the right to recall them at will.

        • bib

          The change that has taken place now is a good indicator that there is hope. A lot of the untouchables didn’t find their ways to Govt houses, and legislatures. Just like Mr President couldn’t find his way back to the villa. No matter what anybody would say, the main reason for this change is non performance. But in spitr of this development we still have a duty to enlighten the populace on their rights,

          • Udom

            Hear, hear! We can only hope and pray positive things continue to come our way. Thanks.

  • Screw-em

    Folks, look out for a minted publication / release of a new book authored by our revered Ivy League “financial guguru not guru” aka Madam Head Scarf Okonjo called “Confessions of an Economic Hit Woman” post May 29, 2015. They touted this fraud as the best thing that has ever happened to the Black race since fried chicken and sliced cassava bread. But here we are once again trying to explain to the world, how we managed to accumulate an inexplicable, unenviable, and onerous debt in the tune of over $60BILLION dollars, in an era where Oil price was unprecedentedly high. Selling at over $100 dollars/barrel. We had the nerve to tell the world we have the largest “Economy” smaller than Somalia based on Abracadabra economics by an Anthropologist. As for the Governors, Okorocha just built a one billion naira home in his village while Oshiomole just took on a Trophy wife. Did any body wonder how comrade/ workers activist turned politician manage to “build” a Mansion in Edo?. Una see wetin we don turn 9ja into under the “tutelage” of an “expert” Zoologist claiming he was building institutions rather than personalities and not castles in the sky?…..Damn!!!…..Sai Buhari sure has his hands full for sure!!!!!

  • Stephen Aleji

    I begin to wonder why the in coming administration has begin to complain. I expected the APC not to start complaining to Nigerians because i believe in a football match the spectator sees the game more than the players. When the PDP leadership where in control of power at the centre (as referred as the player) while the APC (spectators) where busy watching the games for the past 16 years, i assume that they most have put their policies that will bring about the best for the country.

    • Lemmuel Odjay

      They were not in control of Nigeria’s money, while the economy’s minister was playing the usual PDP magic so the result on the pitch of play was always different from what the fans saw. If the PDP had won, we would never have known the amount of damage done to us. They would be patching every part of the Nigerian dress that looked weaker on the outside until the cloth itself succumbed to absolute wear and tear conditions. N60 billion debts, added to what their colleagues in the NPN of Shagari owed before they were kicked out of power. When did oil prices start falling? Those N60 billion debt couldn’t have being as a result of falling oil prices. Give me my money joor… You no go go anywhere…

      • Abdulazeez Oyibo

        Take notice the amount is $60billion not Naira. This is after OBJ paid off our external loans using the same minister who was rewarded by the world bank and the Nigerian government.

        • Lemmuel Odjay

          Were we able to completely pay off those debts? I thought we were forgiven a huge part of the amount? I remember the last UK Labour Party Prime Minister brokered the deal that got our lenders to forgive us those debts. $30 billion, we couldn’t pay while payment of the interest became itself a huge problem. We were constantly inviting our lenders for endless debt rescheduling meetings. We became a beggarly, pariah nation before the rest of the world. It was a debacle. What the knaves in the PDP did was to better their brothers in the NPN by running up double the amount of debt. Would you suggest that Nigeria should go after all proven thieves who sacked our treasury as to raise funds crucial for capital projects and to diversify the economy? Or is your position that of going cap in hand to borrow more? The die is cast and one of the above options would be adopted in the few weeks ahead…

          • Abdulazeez Oyibo

            It should be obvious to all from the quality of men who have been in charge of the country, borrowing is apt to enslaving generations born and yet unborn as the monies would never be used for public good.

      • Stephen Aleji

        Lemmuel Odjay, I quiet understand what you mean but politicians are fun of deceiving the masses, they like using such means to confuse us. I believe they want to start crying to us that they is no money in the treasuring so that went they fail we would not have any thing to judge them. We will hold them responsible if in any where they fail us again. I don’t care whether the country owe USD60billion or not, all what i know they should make policies that will make strong economically.

  • Dr Pat Kolawole Awosan

    If Nigeria external and domestic loans total S60 billion dollars on outgoing president Ebele Jonathan’s watch this called for extensive questioning of the outgoing president Jonathan and his finance minister and coordinator of economy,Dr Ngozi Okonjo Iweala,to explain how and on what vital power project,modernize teaching hospitals equipments and employment generating projects such huge loans were expended on.EFCC and ICPC must be revive and made more effective in it fight against looting,stealing and embezzlement of our national patrimony by the outgoing president Ebele Jonathan and his finance minister,Dr Ngozi Okonjo Iweala who was awarded an honourary doctor of letters by Yale university for her services to humanity and contribution to development of stability in the Nigerian economy.
    Truly,Yale university honoured Dr Okonjo Iweala for successful implementation of the IMF/WB scripts that brought Nigerian economy to near bankruptcy,quite a logical conclusion of Yale university honouring of Dr Okonjo Iweala for having ran NIgeria economy aground and handling Nigeria funds imprudently with massive corruption practices over-seen and notoured by Dr Ngozi Okonjo Iweala on president Ebele Jonathan poor leadership watch.Our stolen national funds and assets must all be recovered by the incoming president Muhammadu Buhari’s government.

  • New Nigerian

    Be True to your words. Be true to your mandate – Tony Balirs advice to President-Elect Buhari

    We the people have accepted the words of the change platform under the able leadership of Buhari of killing corruption (before it kills Nigeria), stopping Boko Haram & other security threats to the masses every where in the land & reviving job creating economy. We have voted massively to give a solid mandate to President Buhari with an able VP in Osinbajo. So in specific terms, we expect from day 1 governing that would do the followings –

    0 – Re-organize the military and eliminate Boko Haram (We expect major changes on day 1 from the personnel standpoint – all key positions must be filled with loyalists of the change revolution)
    1 – One account/treasury that will aggregate all revenues from every sector include NNPC, NCC, NPA and other extra-ministerial entities. That is the central bank…includes eliminating middlemen in collecting our revenue.

    2 – One financial books for NNPC and a re-organization of NNPC to focus on it’s mandate while divorcing it from being the piggy bank for corruption

    3 – Stoppage of outsourcing of the Nigerian Navy & other security institution work to ex-militants and related stoppage of the stealing of 400,000 barrels of oil per day

    4 – Stopping the so-called petroleum and kerosine subsidy and a forensic analysis of all disbursements of funds through the scheme/scam with the aim of returning un-deserved payouts back to the treasury

    5 – Retrieving the $20b revenue that was not remitted to the central bank in 2012-13 (19 mont period) + similar one that were not remitted, which we could not know, since the whistle blower was sacked, back into the treasury of the federal republic. Suspension from sensitive positions of those who are involved in the wholesale theft and barring them from holding public office.

    6 – Ensuring that only incorrigible people head NNPC, NCC, NPA and other departments that are granted autonomy through the statutes by appointing credible people into the oversight function of the organizations

    7 – Forensic analysis of the revenue generated by NCC, NPA, NIMASA and others like them and how those revenue are disbursed

    8 – Investigation into the new loans of $60b in 6 years to see which are real loans and which are money stolen from the government and re-borrowed to the government. The sources of those funds must also be ascertained.

    9 – Investigation into the crude oil theft cartel who have been stealing 400,000+ barrels per day and local & international help to return the proceeds into the treasury of the federal republic

    10 – Holistic 4-year strategy and action plan to partner with private investors (local & international) to attract investment to build infrastructures and generate millions of well paying jobs for Nigeria.

    The list goes on, however the above would be make the change we voted for massively get out of the starting block strong & bold as it will give value to the masses thereby motivating all Nigerians to sustain the support for the long run.

  • Dr Pat Kolawole Awosan

    The outgoing government led by president Ebele Jonathan must be fully investigated and those that looted our public treasuries should be made to refund all our stolen patrimonies and assets with prison penalty upon conviction.No mercy!

  • Gwamna

    Yeye dey smell.