Anxiety over Nigeria’s $73bn debts

Experts have called on government at all levels to put paid to its borrowing  in order to safe the incoming generations from falling into unmitigated debts.

Speaking at a two-day workshop of The MaroonSquare Discourse on National Development in Lagos, at the weekend, a lecturer at department of Political Science, Lagos State University, Prof. Sylvester Odion-Akhaine, charged Nigerians to learn from the past by showing collective responsibility to prevent a return to the past.

The academic who was represented by Uzodinma Nwaogbe, a lecturer at Federal College of Education (Technical) Yaba, expressed worried over the blossomed to frightening levels of external debt profile which amount to $22.08 billion in June 30, 2018 from $9.4 billion in March 2015.

Citing excerpts from the website of Debt Management Office, Nigeria debt profile hit a whooping total of N20 trillion as of September 30, 2017 with an aggregate public debt of about $63.5 billion and is currently in the threshold of $73.2 billion, adding that about two-thirds of government’s revenues would go into debt servicing.

Speaking on a theme, ‘Nigeria’s Debt Crisis: Journey to where?’, the don explained that the government would require about $2.8 billion external loan to bridge the apparent fiscal deficit in the 2018 budget over which it has issued Euro bond.

He noted that in the 2019 budget, unbalanced about N2, 264,014,113,092 only is for debt service which put Nigerian government within the safe belt of borrowing.

Akhaine reminded Nigerian government of the 2016 alarm bell of International Financial Institutions (IFIs) with regards to borrowing by the Nigeria government and other African countries.

While reiterating that African Development Bank (AfDB) also warned African governments, including Nigeria to be cautious about international borrowing given the consequences of reckless external borrowing such as decline in revenues.

He explained that exacerbating poverty, eroding national self-worth, and promoting behaviour on the part of states that is often to the detriment of society at large, debt has so has far reaching consequences on relatively all areas of Nigerians’ living.

Akhaine stated that the previous cycles of crises, the enclave economy continues to feed the venality of public officials and the bleeding of national resources will be on increase if government continue in his usual path of short-term borrowing.

The don warned that infrastructure-based loans from the Chinese could be deadly and could lead the continent including Nigeria into a recolonisation unless the black nations take circumspection.

He observed that nations that have walked into the debt loop have historically suffered loss of sovereignty and national pride, state capacity and the related scourge of dependency among comity of nations.

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