A former vice president, Atiku Abubakar, has written to the Senate President, Ahmad Lawan, urging the National Assembly to reject any new loan requests that are not for income-generating projects.
Mr Abubakar said in the letter dated August 19, a copy of which was seen by this newspaper, that the federal lawmakers “should not sit back and watch the nation teeter towards financial peril.”
“Nigeria risks insolvency if it continues to borrow money, adding that previous loans were spent on non-viable projects,” the 2019 presidential hopeful of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) said.
As of March 2020, Nigeria’s total public debt stands at ₦28.6 trillion ($79.3 billion), of which about ₦10 trillion ($27.6 billion) is external debt, according to the Debt Management Office (DMO).
“On May 29, 2015, Nigeria’s total national debt stood approximately at N12 trillion. As of August 2020, our national debt has tripled to N28.63 trillion,” Mr Abubakar noted.
“Even more alarming is the fact that the foreign debt portion of our national debt has risen from less than $10 billion on May 29, 2015, to almost $30 billion in August 2020,” he added.
“A further cause for concern is the fact that not all of these debts are necessary. A study of the use to which these monies have been put to will show that much of it has gone towards items or projects that are non-productive or viable.”
He urged the National Assembly to “check on the excesses of other arms of government” by refusing to approve any new loan requests “to be spent on projects or items that are not income-generating or production-based, or indeed viable.”
Both Houses of the National Assembly have assented all three loan requests from President Muhammadu Buhari.
In June the $5.513 billion foreign loan request by the president got legislative nod, a week after another $22.7 billion foreign loan was approved by both Houses.
The approval was preceded by the approval of another ₦850 billion borrowing request made by the president, which is to be sourced from domestic markets.
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