Friday, October 15, 2021

Buhari govt must keep Nigeria financially solvent – Atiku

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Ibrahim Ramalan
Ibrahim Ramalan is a graduate of Mass Communications from the Ahmadu Bello University (ABU) Zaria. With nearly a decade-long, active journalism practice, Mr Ramalan has been able to rise from a cub reporter to the exalted position of an editor; first as Arts Editor with the Blueprint Newspapers before resigning in 2019; second and presently as an Associate Editor of the Daily Nigerian online newspaper. He can be reached via [email protected], or www.facebook.com/ibrahim.ramalana, or @McRamalan on Twitter.
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Following a rising debt profile in Nigeria, former Vice President Atiku Abubakar has once again called on President Muhammadu Buhari administration to exercise caution in order to avert plunging the country into financial insolvency.

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Releasing a statement on Friday, Mr Atiku recalled his earlier statement in which he sounded an alarm to the Federal Government that the country’s debts have reached unsustainable levels, that over 90% of the country’s revenue goes to debt servicing.

According to him, that warning was a patriotic one, devoid of partisanship, and was meant as wake up call to prevent the nation from going into insolvency.

He said: “At that time, I said: ‘We are on a precipice and if revenue figures do not rise quickly, Nigeria risks a situation where revenue cannot even sustain its debt servicing obligations. Meaning that we may become insolvent and our creditors may foreclose on us, as has occurred in Sri Lanka and the Maldives.’

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“I also further said: ‘As part of an administration that paid off Nigeria’s entire foreign debt, I am concerned about the unprecedented increase in our debt to Gross Domestic Product (GDP) ratio and debt-to-revenue ratio. The alarm I sounded last year is now sounding louder.’

“Thereafter, solutions were offered to the government in power as a way out of the impending economic crisis.”

To his dismay, according to him, the Federal Government dismissed his alarm, denying any insolvency.

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“Interestingly, yesterday, (Thursday, August 26, 2021) the Budget Office of the same administration released a statement to the effect that Nigeria made ₦2. 23 trillion revenue in the first half of 2021, and spent ₦2.02 trillion on debt servicing, representing 90.58% of National revenue in the period under review (H1).

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“Although this clearly vindicates me, I have no joy that things have gotten to this stage,” Mr Atiku lamented.

The former vice-president, however, called on the government to revisit the solutions provided in his June 16, 2020 statement and other interventions made earlier by other patriotic Nigerians.

“Nigeria is the only country we have, and we must all do everything possible, irrespective of party affiliation, to keep our nation financially solvent for future generations,” he emphasised.

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