Atiku Abubakar, the candidate of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) in the forthcoming presidential election, on Monday blamed the Muhammadu Buhari administration for the recent downgrade of the nation’s credit rating.
Mr Abubakar said he would steer away the course of the Nigerian economy from the gloomy direction it is headed towards a robust fiscal sustainability.
The former Nigerian vice president made the disclosure in a statement seen by PREMIUM TIMES in reaction to Friday’s downgrade of Nigerian government’s credit rating deeper into junk by the global bond credit agency, Moody’s Investors Service.
Last week, the global ratings agency lowered Nigeria’s sovereign rating further as it anticipates the fiscal and debt profiles of the government of Africa’s largest economy to deteriorate in the face of myriad vulnerabilities.
The latest rating also reflects the Nigerian government’s long-term foreign-currency and local-currency issuer ratings as well as its foreign currency senior unsecured debt ratings. The firm equally cut the country’s foreign currency senior unsecured MTN program rating to (P)Caa1 from (P)B3.
“Moody’s notes the FGN’s deteriorating fiscal and debt position and its lack of capacity to respond to same; it notes the ‘exacerbating policy trading-off’ between debt servicing and the financing of critical sectors, including education, health, and other social programmes,” Mr Abubakar said in a statement, adding that Moody’s position is an “indictment” on the country’s leadership.
“It also notes the government’s inability to curtail its addiction to deficit financing and its appetite for more funds from the Central Bank’s Ways and Means,” he said.
He expressed reservation about the capacity of the present administration to generate and enforce ingenious ideas to solve various national challenges and help the government to deliver on its mandate.
“If given the opportunity to lead the country, I will act differently and change the economic direction of Nigeria for the better. I will undertake far-reaching fiscal restructuring to improve liquidity and the management of our fiscal resources,” the PDP presidential aspirant said.
Mr Abubakar is hoping to drive sweeping reforms that will involve an instant overhaul of government expenditure in order block leakages from subsidy payments.
He has stated his ambition to halt fiscal support to moribund state-owned enterprises and initiate moves to better spending efficiency by way of steady cut in recurrent expenditure.
Evaluating government’s procurement processes with a view to curbing leakages and guaranteeing value-for-money will be crucial to his government, he said.
The PDP candidate also vowed to prioritise non-debt financing through promotion of an infrastructure development fund to be led by the private sector for funding critical infrastructural projects
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