PDP lambasts ACN over debt profile allegation

The Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) has reacted strongly to the claim by the Action Congress of Nigeria (ACN) that the PDP led government was dragging Nigeria back into a debt trap.
The PDP said in a statement by Olisa Metuh, its National Publicity Secretary, that contrary to ACN’s allegations, “Nigeria is still one of the least indebted countries among comparative growing economies with a debt/GDP ratio of 17.45% as at 2011compared with countries such as Indonesia at 24.5%, South Africa at 35.6% and Ghana at 38.7%”.
Mr. Metuh also said the approved external borrowing of $7.9bn dollars in the 2012 budget covers expenditure over a three year period ending in 2014 and it would be applied to specific projects including the Abuja Light Rail project, the Zungeru 700 MW Hydro Electric Power project, 200 Ultra Modern Bed Hospital in Yobe state, and the Erosion Watershed Management projects across the country amongst others.
The PDP said that it is common practice even in the most advanced economies in the world to borrow funds to supplement the income generated for development projects.
The party said the fact that Nigeria is found worthy of such credit facilities shows “the improved credit rating of the country that was non-existent only a few years ago”.
Last week, the ACN decried the county’s rising debt profile, saying it negates everything the Federal Government said when it paid $12bn to get a debt relief in 2005.
“It is shocking and saddening to learn that less than seven years after the much-celebrated debt relief, which supposedly wiped the country’s debt slate clean, Nigeria’s external debt has risen to $5.9bn and, when the domestic debt is added, it amounts to a whopping $44bn,” ACN’s National Publicity secretary, Lai Mohammed, said.
The PDP however accused the opposition party of deceit, saying the ACN has no moral grounds to accuse the PDP-led Federal Government of indiscriminate borrowing even as the ACN controlled Lagos is also enmeshed in heavy debt.
“It is deceitful For the ACN to question our debt profile when Lagos state is the most indebted state with an international debt profile of $491,847,295.53. This constitutes approximately 9% of the country’s total external debt profile. In addition Lagos state also has an internal debt of N100 billion in bonds,” the PDP said.
The PDP also said it was hypocritical of the ACN to continuously accuse the PDP led government of sinking the country into further debt when their government is in fact the worst culprit.
Meanwhile, the PDP has said the 12 years it has been in power was a blessing to Nigerian workers.
Bamanga Tukur, the National Chairman of the Party, said so in his message to Nigerian workers who will join their counterparts nationwide to celebrate workers day on Tuesday, May 1.
Mr. Tukur said the civil service reform, which the PDP-led Federal Government initiated and has been implementing, has achieved levels of successes in critical areas.
The national chairman mentioned some of the areas in which the party had improved the lives of workers to include “the Monetisation of fringe benefits of workers, Contributory Pension scheme, Civil Service E-payment system, Right Sizing of the Service, Rationalisation and Restructuring of Ministries and Agencies of government as well as the establishment of SERVICOM to provide adequate feedback on service provision and the success of these reforms,” he said.
Mr. Tukur added that “under the PDP, the nation now has the Freedom of Information Act to ginger vigilance and ease the investigative scrutiny of all Nigerians on the fidelity of service rendered to them.” 
The PDP, he added, will continue to take serious the issue of the welfare of workers and would remain committed to the success of the reforms intended to achieve a competent work force that could meet the challenges of the time.
The party urged workers to “recall that since 1999, the Peoples Democratic Party has kept the issue of workers welfare high on its agenda and has in fact successfully affected wage increment twice in the last twelve years. We shall continue to be alive to our responsibilities to the Nigerian workers”.

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