NIGERIA’S IRRESPONSIBLE BORROWING AT N35.5 TRILLION FOREIGN DEBT AND N21 TRILLION LOCAL DEBT
By Dr. Azubuike Nkala.
At Nigeria’s current foreign debt of N35.5 trillion, and N21 Trillion local debt, President Muhammadu Buhari has presented yet another request for a foreign loan of 4 billion dollars to the senate for approval, and knowing the mindset of the present APC dominated senate they will approve the loan without scruples. If they do in the face of the universal criticism and rejection of the loan by Ohanaeze Ndigbo, Afenifere, and the Middle Belt Forum they will be doing a disservice to Nigerians, albeit like an army of occupation, zealous of acts of scotch-earth policy.
A decerning senate would have wanted to conduct an investigation into how the previously approved loans was expended before proceeding to debate on the present request. In a chorus of opinion, all the representatives of the ethno-religious organizations in the country have rejected the loan because it is on them that the hard and excruciating impacts of the loan bites. Economic principle, though, in its basic understanding denotes that borrowing for investment is an acceptable goal of socio-economic development. But this is when you have a strategic repayment plan that will ensure effective return on the investment of the borrowed sum.
The economy, at 4% is not growing in any way to accommodate the possibility of effective repayment plan for the borrowed sum, much less accommodating more funds. There is no convincing detail to show that the economy is growing in its productivity levels.
The humongous borrowing of the military in the 1980s landed us in a dangerous debt trap, which however, Dr Okonjo Iweala extricated us from. Production is the panacea, but ironically Nigerian Government has not entrenched productivity to the levels that the repayment will be free-flowing. The economic mood of the nation is the most important factor in this matter of borrowing at this point in time. The issue is that the armed Fulani herdsmen have destabilized the economy of the country. The economy is birthed on agriculture and oil. The prices of all food and cash crops are very high due to the killing of farmers, raping of women farmers, murder of their husbands and sacking of entire communities by Fulani herdsmen. The middle belt region and the southern savanna rain forest belt of the south-East, Sout-West and the South-south are the agricultural belts of the country which have been ravaged by Fulani cattle rearers.
The resultant effects are that food prices have skyrocketed beyond the reach of average Nigerians.
Statistical reports from the National Office of Statistics puts the inflationary rate of the country at 17.8%. That is a very high leveltwo-digit inflation because the point 8% is greater than 5, and when it is added to 17 it turns out that the level of the country’s inflation is 18%. The situation is not just scary but economically dangerous for a rent economy like Nigeria without an entrenched productive sub-sector.
In his analysis of the precarious situation over the Channels Television, Professor Pat Utomi looked at the deficits within the economy and concluded that the productive sub-sector of the country’s economy is too weak to provide a strong base that can guarantee a sustainable repayment plan for the loans. As we speak, immediately the senate approves the 4 billion dollars loan, the total foreign borrowing will sum up to N43.5 trillion, with accompanying local outlay of N21 Trillion, which brings the total national indebtedness to N64.5 trillion. With this, the country is already in a debt web, irrespective of how Alhaji Lai Mohammed and Mallam Garba Shehu would try to parry their lies and propaganda, even though we are aware that discerning Nigerians are not deceived by irresponsible defence of a decrepit Government which Muhammadu Buhari’s has turned out to be.
Everybody is aware that he cannot resign because Africans are operating a highbrid type of democracy birthed in corruption and primitivity, otherwise how can a president borrow such a huge loan in an economy where the pump price of petrol is N200 in the country where petroleum is produced, and where 12 kilogrammes cylinder of gas is sold for N8000, this is not to talk of the spiralling cost of food stuff. That is the madness of the Buhari leadership.
The tragedy of it also is that partisan politicians are not even worried because they are struggling to outdo one another in the forthcoming 2023 elections.