Politics

BREAKING: Peter Obi says that Nigeria has very little to show for the huge debt it has accumulated.

Peter Obi, who is the presidential candidate of the Labour Party in the upcoming 2023 election, has expressed his concerns about the excessive borrowing of the federal government. In a series of tweets on Tuesday, Obi noted that there was little or nothing to show for the huge debts incurred by past and present administrations in Nigeria.

He wrote, “I remain concerned about our borrowings, considering their galloping situation over the years, and their concomitant effects on the economy. More worrisome is the fact that there has been no corresponding visible usage or investments as required by the law, to show their impact on the nation.”

According to Obi, as of the end of the second quarter, Q2, of 2023, Nigeria’s debt stood at N87.9 trillion, which was a very disturbing figure for him. He was at a loss as to what the huge debt was used for, especially the over N30 trillion ways and means borrowed by the previous administration, which, for him, would have been the end of borrowing without any visible and corresponding investment that would benefit the nation.

Obi further stated that between the end of the third quarter, Q3, and the end of the fourth quarter, Q4, of 2023, about N10 trillion was added to Nigeria’s debt profile, which has now taken the country’s debts to N97.3 trillion. However, there is no corresponding visible and verifiable utilization of such debts, which, to the best of his knowledge, is the highest ever borrowed in one quarter.

Last year, in 2023, Nigeria’s total debt servicing for domestic debts stood at N4.4 trillion, and that of external debt servicing was $3.5 billion, which is about N4.9 trillion. In effect, approximately N10 trillion is now set aside to service unproductive debts.

Obi emphasized that what Nigeria borrowed in a quarter, which is about N10 trillion, and what is spent on debt servicing, which is also about N10 trillion, are each more than the combined budgetary allocation for the four highest priority areas, which are defense (N3.25trn), education (N2.18trn), health (N1.33trn), and infrastructure (N1.32trn).

In conclusion, Obi appealed to the government of Nigeria to de-accelerate the borrowing and first re-evaluate what has been achieved with the previous loans so far. He urged the government to make better decisions for the good of the nation. Obi believes that in the New Nigeria of their dream, scarce resources will not only be duly accounted for but will be productively and prudently managed to move the nation from consumption to production.