Former Vice-President Atiku Abubakar says he cannot watch idly sit as President Muhammadu Buhari’s government “ruin the future of Nigerians” with his $29.6 billion loan request.
The former president said this aftet Buhari had requested the senate to approve the loan, as oil earnings can no longer meet the country’s financial needs.
Although the said loan was rejected by the senate under the leadership of Bukola Saraki, current Senate President Ahmad Lawan on Monday revealed the the loan request will be approved.
However, in a article written by Atiku on Tuesday, he criticised the loan request, saying too much borrowing would the country into more suffering.
He recalled how his former boss, ex President Olusegun Obasanjo did all he could to clear Nigeria’s foreign debt when Nigeria returned to democracy in 1999 and it would be a disaster to allow any government “plunge Nigeria into another debt”.
“The fact that Nigeria currently budgets more money for debt servicing (₦2.7 trillion), than we do on capital expenditure (₦2.4 trillion) is already an indicator that we have borrowed more money than we can afford to borrow. And the thing is that debt servicing is not debt repayment. Debt servicing just means that we are paying the barest minimum allowable by our creditors,” the article read.
“And while spending 50% of our current revenue on debt servicing, this administration wants to take further loans of $29.6 billion! To say that this is irresponsible is itself an understatement.
“President Olusegun Obasanjo and I paid off this nation’s debt, and I will not stand idly by and watch while Nigeria is plunged into second slavery by those who only know how to reap where they have not sown.”
“In my economic blueprint, I said that rather than turn in regular losses (which it has consistently been doing), the best thing to do with the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation is to reform it. Of course, the administration’s paid propagandists went into overdrive, accusing me of planning to sell the NNPC to my friends,” he said.
“But just last week, Saudi Arabia’s ARAMCO, the most profitable company in the world, took that route and almost broke the global stock market with the most successful initial IPOs in world history, bar none. Ironically, Saudi Aramco raised $29.4 billion via this IPO. Just the amount this administration wants to borrow.
“That could have been Nigeria’s story, but for our failure of leadership. By reforming the NNPC, Nigeria can raise the $29.6 billion the Buhari regime wants to borrow, and we will raise the money without going into debt.”
He asked Nigerian youth “to identify the Senator representing their senatorial zones and write to them, urging them to vote against this request.”
“I was part of a team that paid off Nigeria’s entire foreign debt. I, therefore, cannot sit and watch an administration without vision squander our children’s future by taking and wasting loans that they do not even have the capacity to utilise properly,” he wrote.
“Our youth must have something better to inherit from us than unsustainable debt fuelled by insatiable greed. That is why I call on the Senate of the National Assembly to show loyalty to Nigeria and reconsider its decision with regards to approving Buhari’s $29.6 billion loan request.”