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Nigeria under President Buhari in financial crisis, Atiku laments

*FG: His position is based on scaremongering

Nigeria’s former vice president, Alhaji Atiku Abubakar, has again, warned that Nigeria is in dire financial crisis under the Muhammadu Buhari administration. This was just as the the federal government has faulted former the comment on the debt profile of the nation saying his comments were based “on scaremongering anchored on a false premise.”

Atiku who contested but lost the presidency to Buhari in the 2019 presidential election stated this in an article he posted on Linkedin on Tuesday, June 16.

He was reacting to the report that shows that whereas Nigeria spent a total sum of ₦943.12 billion in debt servicing, the federal government’s retained revenue for the same period was only ₦950.56 billion, meaning Nigeria’s debt to revenue ratio is now 99%.

“No one should be deceived. This is a crisis! Debt servicing does not equate to debt repayment. The reality is that Nigeria is paying only the minimum payment to cover our interest charges. The principal remains untouched and is possibly growing,” he lamented.

He continued: “Not only have we squandered our opportunities, we have also squandered the opportunities of our future generations by bequeathing them a debt that they neither incurred nor enjoyed.

“Again, I warn that Nigeria is facing a crisis, and we cannot continue to keep up appearances by taking out more loans to prop up our economy. That will amount not just to robbing Peter to pay Paul, but to robbing our children to pay for our greed!”

An analysis of the Nigerian debt problem shows a bleak future as the Buhari administration continues to erode the achievements of past governments in securing debt reliefs for the country.

An overall picture of Nigeria’s indebtedness shows a huge and depressing magnitude, structure and evolution of the country’s debt.

The response of the Nigerian government to the crisis has also been far from impressive.

Experts say the International Monetary Fund, World Bank and the Western world, in general, should be blamed for collaborating with some Nigeria leaders in making the country indebted.

And that the Nigerian masses needed reparation for the losses, pains and sufferings they have passed through in the hands of a terribly inept government.

As Nigeria is neck-deep in the debt trap.

Debt has become a millstone on Nigeria’s neck, jeopardizing her economic growth and compromising her social development.

The Buhari’s government spend a lion’s share of the country’s national income servicing debts leaving little money for social services and infrastructural development, and even still much less for investment.

In the process, the government has paid more than it originally borrowed, yet Nigeria’s debt is like a malignant virus that continues to multiply.

Nigeria currently spends about one-third of its budget, three times its sectoral budget for education and nine times its health budget on servicing outstanding debts.

Despite the debt crisis, the government is still neck-deep in borrowing and it worries a lot of Nigerians.

Recently, the board of directors of the African Development Bank (AfDB) approved a $288.5million loan to help Nigeria tackle the COVID-19 pandemic and mitigate its impact on people and businesses.

The loan is expected to bolster the federal government’s plans to improve surveillance and response to COVID-19 emergencies, ease the impact on workers and businesses and strengthen the social protection system.

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