The presidential candidate of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), Atiku Abubakar, has decried the “unsustainable debt” Nigeria has acquired under the President Muhammadu Buhari-led administration.
In a statement by his Media Adviser, Paul Ibe, on Wednesday, Mr Abubakar called for urgent redress of the debt situation before it totally submerges Nigeria’s economic well-being.
Mr Abubakar acknowledged that the PDP-led administrations before 2015 left a national debt profile of #12 trillion but noted that the debt doubled during the first tenure of Mr Buhari and has been on the increase now.
“As alarming as this is, what is more troubling is that between December 2018 and March 2019, the administration of General Buhari added an additional and unprecedented ₦560 billion debt to our national debt profile,” he said.
Mr Abubakar said some of the projects that ramped up the debt, “such as Trademoni, were politically engineered to win people’s votes in the just concluded Presidential election and were “discontinued after the election.”
“We find it inconceivable that Nigeria could have had such unprecedented borrowings in the midst of almost unimaginable sorrowing, which resulted in our nation becoming the world headquarters for extreme poverty and the global capital of out of school children, even as we slipped in the Corruption Perception Index of Transparency International.
“As someone who headed the National Economic Council that paid off Nigeria’s entire debt under the visionary leadership of President Olusegun Obasanjo, Atiku Abubakar has the moral authority to call those who are turning Nigeria into a beggar nation to halt the drift into unsustainable borrowing.
“We cannot continue to borrow to pay salaries and support luxuries. Already, over 50% of our revenue is going towards debt servicing, not even debt repayments,” he said.
Mr Abubakar called on Nigerians to caution the APC-led administration against unsustainable debt.
“We cannot continue to borrow to pay salaries and support luxuries. Already, over 50 per cent of our revenue is going towards debt servicing, not even debt repayments,” he said.
Mr Abubakar joins a growing list of entities that have raised concerns about Nigeria’s increasing debt. Others who have raised similar concerns include the IMF and the United Nations.
The Nigerian government has, however, repeatedly said the debt increase was not necessarily bad as it was being used for core infrastructure projects. The government also said Nigeria’s debt to GDP ratio was not higher than usual in international circles.