The Guardian (Nigeria)

Stop borrowing to avoid costly restructur­ing, Moghalu advises Buhari

• Accuses President of mortgaging future of youths

- By Clarkson Voke Eberu Read the remaining part of this story on www. guardian. ng

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.

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