Stop new borrowings, focus on Domestic revenue generation – ANEEJ tells Buhari
BENIN CITY, NIGERIA. June 2, 2022.. Following the warning by the International Monetary Fund that debt servicing may gulp 100 per cent of the Federal Government’s revenue by 2026, the African Network for Environment and Economic Justice (ANEEJ) has called on President Muhammadu Buhari’s administration to take urgent steps to improve revenue generation and stop further borrowings.
Executive Director of ANEEJ, the Rev David Ugolor gave the advice today in his official reaction to the warning from the IMF in the face of worsening debt crisis of the country.
“As debt activists, we have consistently cautioned the Federal Government over the spiking debt profile of Nigeria, but each time we meet with government officials, they tell us we are within comfortable borrowing thresholds. We are happy that IMF and those that knows better are sounding the warnings we have been giving, I think it is time the Buhari administration stopped new borrowings and focus more on internal revenue generation,” Ugolor submitted.
He further reasoned that given the Russia-Ukrain war that has altered oil and gas earnings, being an oil exporter, Nigeria ought to have taken advantage of the current global high oil prices to build reserves due to the subsidy on petroleum products. “But Nigeria cannot do that because our refineries that have been in comatose over the years with billions of dollars sank into turn around maintenance and repairs, nothing has worked and as such we keep exporting crude and importing refined products and exorbitant prices,” David Ugolor lamented.
According to him, “Nigeria’s subsidy bill would likely hit N6tn by the end of this year at the current monthly subsidy bill of N500bn handlers of the economy appears helpless in the face of the crisis.”
The ANEEJ boss called on the managers of the nation’s economy to advise the President correctly and bail the nation out from its economic doldrums in the next one year left for the present administration.
“Even though we are in electioneering season, I believe the government can still do something. They need to rejig internal revenue sources and plug all leakages. Nigeria received $3.4bn in Special Drawing Rights and an equal amount in addition to a loan from the Fund in response to Covid crisis, bringing our total loan since 2020 to $6.8bn from the IMF alone, where have these monies been channeled into in Nigeria?” Ugolor queried.
He called on Journalists and Nigerians at large to rise up and ask politicians seeking to be the next president their plans to resolve Nigeria’s ballooning debt crisis when they eventually become the President. We need to begin to set the agenda for the incoming administration,” Ugolor emphasized.
Nigeria’s debt stock, which is about N39.56tn as of December 2021, is likely to reach N45.95tn following plans by the Debt Management Office to borrow an additional N6.39tn to finance the 2022 budget deficit, a problem ANEEJ believes needs serious economic managers to fix in the interest of the present and future generation.