Worried by Nigeria’s mounting debts in trillions, former Vice-President Atiku Abubakar, has written a strongly crafted letter to the National Assembly, urging it to repudiate approval for any new loan request meant for projects that are not viable.
He said that he could not watch the government of President Muhammadu Buhari squander the future of Nigerian Youth as well as generations yet unborn with loans that are not income-generating or production-based.
In a letter to the Senate President, Dr Ahmad Lawan, a copy of which was obtained by PerSecondnews, Atiku said:”Nigerians cannot sit back and watch while our nation teeters towards financial peril.
“On May 29, 2015, Nigeria’s total national debt stood approximately at N12trn. As of August 2020, our national debt has trippled to N28.63trn. Even more alarming is the fact that the foreign debt portion of our national debt has risen from less than $10bn on May 29, 2015, to almost $30bn in August 2020.
“A further cause for concern is the fact that not all of these debts are necessary. A study of the use to which these monies have been put to will show that much of it has gone towards items or project that are non-productive or viable.
“As such, in view of your role as a check on the excesses of other arms of government, may I suggest that going forward, the National Assembly should refuse to approve any new loan requests, where such loans are to be spent on projects or items that are not income-generating or production-based, or indeed viable.”
The two-page letter is titled, “Nigeria must avoid debt crisis”.
The 2019 PDP Presidential candidate also stated: “For the avoidance of doubt, in the business world, a project deemed viable when the economic benefits of that project outweighs its cost.
“Looking at some of the projects and items that our current indebtedness has been spent on, on a line-by-line item, much of them are unviable.
“The more Nigeria continues to go into debt to fund consumption and unviable projects, the more we risk insolvency.
“Our debt to GDP ratio may look healthy, however, our debt to revenue ratio is very unhealthy and this is reflected in Nigeria’s bond market.
“Our foreign reserves are depleting and we have had to devalue the Naira more than once this year.”
“What we spend on debt servicing now dwarfs actual investment on our people.These are very disturbing signs,” he said.
Atiku, who presided over economy in the Olusegun Obasanjo government 1999-2007, pointed out that the nation’s political independence “is highly compromised if it had no economic independence.
To the National Assembly, Atiku said: “Taking these actions may lead to a situation where the powers-that-be may not take kindly to you. However, l can assure you that if you do, the verdict of history will be kind to you.
“The powers -that-be is transient but history is permanent and unforgiving.”