The disclosure by DMO that Nigeria’s debt profile is over N24trillion and that it would be taking a further N1.6trillion loan to pay salaries forecloses Nigeria’s Vision 20,2020.
The dream which came to the fore during President Olusegun Obasanjo administration andframed by President Umar Yar’Adua looked impossible initiatially but seemed a reality during President Goodluck Jonathan era when Nigeria actually became 24th economy in the globe and number one in Africa.
Nigera’s private sector also blosomed with Nigerian banks spreading their tentacles across Africa and the world,Dangote Group soared with investments in the continent and ICT companies like Zenox computers becoming the most integrated IT firm in Africa as HEIR Holdings chaired by Tony Elumelu spread its investment abroad.
It looked as if the dream of the nation’s founding fathers for an independent political and economic power was afoot.The Jonathan regime helped matters with the restoration of our railways,massive food production,built 12 universities,150 alimajiri schools,ten power plants;sentover 1000 ICT students and first class graduates abroad to reverse brain drain.
But in just three years,President Muhammadu Buhari administration has seemingly reversed all that with a N13trillion additional debt the experts are still wondering what it was used for. Experts were infact expecting Buhari to make trillions from his so called anti-corruption regime for the country.
This binge on loans has obviously made the great effort that wiped off $36billion debt for Nigeria by former World Bank Managing Director,Ngozi Iweala and Obasanjo to become a wasted effort.That debt held Nigeria down in under-development for 30 years.
Patience Oniha, Director-General, Debt Management Office (DMO), said Nigeria’s debt profile is now N24.4trillion having added N2.96trillion to the old debt in the space of a year.The DG who made this known in Abuja stressed its statistics showed that the country’s debt profile which was at N21.725trillion in 2017, had increased by 8.74 per cent.
The DMO boss said the funds were borrowed to finance projects, fund budget deficit and meet maturing obligations, noting that 68.18 per cent of the debt are domestic.She said some foreign debts were borrowed so as to refinance treasury bills because of the short tenor of the bills.
It would be recalled that Amine Mati, International Monetary Fund (IMF) senior resident representative for Nigeria, recently revealed that more than 50 percent of Nigeria’s revenue is used to service the country’s debt
He made the remark during a presentation by the International Monetary Fund (IMF) on the economic outlook for sub-Saharan Africa, stating that Nigeria was diverting more resources toward interests payments.He said that although Nigeria’s debt to gross domestic product (GDP) was quite low, more than 50 percent of revenue went into interest payments.
Speaking on the nation’s economy recently Dr Austin Nweze of Atlantic University said President Buhari was apt when he said after the elections that the future will be tough for Nigerians.