The Guardian (Nigeria)
Stop borrowing to avoid costly restructuring, Moghalu advises Buhari
• Accuses President of mortgaging future of youths
CONVENER of Moghalu4nigeria Movement ( M4N), Prof. Kingsley Moghalu, has deplored Nigeria’s debt exposure, which stood at $ 32.85 billion by March this year.
The former Central Bank of Nigeria ( CBN) deputy governor, therefore, advised the Federal Government to urgently “halt this borrowing binge, which is exposing the country to a possible future debt peonage, considering our external debt by 2015 was $ 10.31 billion and in six years, has doubled with the possibility that it would still go up by 2023 when President Muhammadu Buhari would have completed his two terms tenure of eight years.”
According to Moghalu, in a statement yesterday by his Special Adviser, Media & Publicity, Ndukaku Nwosu, the development is unprecedented, unsustainable and alarming.
The borrowing spree, he noted, represents a 218 per cent increase.
He said: “The total outstanding public debt stock increased by 173per cent in the same period, from N12.11 trillion to N33.10 trillion.
“On the average, over N3.6 trillion is being added to the public debt yearly. This massive borrowing and the infrastructure investment that has been used to justify it, have grossly under- performed.
“Instead of delivering economic growth, the economy has been twice in recession, and when out of it, growth has been underwhelming at two per cent at best. And rather than the debt- funded infrastructure projects creating ample number of jobs for the citizens, the national unemployment rate has increased to 33.1 per cent, while youth unemployment has reached 42.5 per cent.”
The Young Progressives Party ( YPP) presidential candidate in the 2019 general elections argued that under a coordinated economic policy by a competent government, the debt capital outlay would have catalysed private sector investments and sizeable foreign direct investment ( FDI) flows into the economy.
He insisted that public- private partnerships should be the dominant approach to infrastructure development in a country like Nigeria, instead of contract awards that, from information available from comparable projects in nations such as Ghana and Ethiopia, are at best overvalued and, at worst, grossly inflated in their costs.