Vexed by the unrelenting applications by the Federal Ministry of Finance and Budgets for foreign loans since the assumption of office of the President Muhammadu Buhari’s government in 2015, a call has gone to the President to rename the ministry of finance and Budget to Ministry for foreign loans collection. This was the position of the prominent Civil Rights Advocacy Group-: HUMAN RIGHTS WRITERS ASSOCIATION OF NIGERIA (HURIWA).
“We honestly think that the President should table before his weak Federal executive Council the proposal for a change of name of the Federal Ministry of Finance, Budget and National planning to the Federal Ministry for Foreign Loans and Debts accumulation. This is because Nigerians have come to see that the Minister of Finance Zainab Ahmed does nothing else than inundating Nigerians with the bad news of the constant requests from all kinds of places around the world for external Loans which are actually not been utilised to grow the economy or advance the living conditions of Nigerians but these huge loans are used to service the ballooning costs of running government and paying juicy allowances to Federal government officials”.
Besides, the prominent Civil Rights Advocacy Group:- HUMAN RIGHTS WRITERS ASSOCIATION OF NIGERIA (HURIWA) has also dismissed as puerile and distasteful, the opinion credited to the Senate President Mr. Ahmed Lawan for saying that Nigeria will continue to apply for foreign loans because the nation is poor.
The Rights group said it made no sense to accept such a fallacy from the Senate President because in the first place, Nigeria is not poor but resource rich but has poor and corruption infested political leadership and importantly, poor nations without resources aren’t given or granted loans by creditors unless such debtors have collateral by way of resources that the creditors like China can fall back on if Nigeria fails to meet her repayment conditionality. HURIWA said if Nigeria was such a poor Country, creditors like IMF, World Bank, China, Paris Club and London Club won’t be falling on each other to extend loans and credit facilities to a poor nation which is why China for instance has a proviso for sovereign guarantee before awarding those frivolous loans because China is aware of the resource rich nature of Nigeria.
HURIWA in a media statement made against the backdrops of the latest approval by the National Assembly of a further $6.18 billion foreign loans by President Muhammadu Buhari said the essence of setting up a ministry of fiance is to fashion out and effectively implement sustainable and viable financial mechanisms for aggressively boosting the economy of Nigeria and Nigerians and for promotion of the principles of transparency, accountability and good governance through good policies.
HURIWA also lamented that whereas most nations of the World are concentrating her economic and national planning efforts towards boosting the productivity of the citizens and Gross domestic products of their countries through industralisation and the administration and maintenance of public works and social infrastructures to create enabling environment for private sector businesses to thrive and drive economic growth, the federal and state governments in Nigeria are in the bonanza of collecting foreign credit facilities and loans so as to finance the ostentatious political lifestyles of the politicians in the corridors of power.
The Rights group which condemned the unbridled quest by President Buhari for collecting foreign loans, stated that statistically, financial experts have concluded that given all the loans accumulated by the government, each Nigerian is now a debtor to foreign entities to the tune of N 155, 000. “This to is is the new kind of enslavement which must be resisted. Whereas these government officials collect loans and fritter to find their expensive lifestyles, millions of Nigerians have become impoverished over time. Infact only two years back, Nigeria became the home to over 90 million absolutely poor citizens and the poverty capital of the World even whilst the nation is still very rich in terms of mineral and crude oil resources whose revenues are looted heartlessly by officials”.
HURIWA stated that: ” We are aware that the Debt Management Office, DMO, has announced that the total debt stock of Nigeria rose to N31 trillion as of June 2020.It also said the debts are expected to rise this year following more debts to be sourced from international financiers.As of March 2020, the debt was at N28.6trn comprising all debts of the Federal Government, the 36 state governments and the Federal Capital Territory (FCT).The latest debt total of N31.009trn debt is about $85.897 billion while that of March which was N28.628trn was about N79.303bn.The debt stock grew by N2.38trn or $6.59bn within the three months interval. The additional increase was due to the $3.36bn Budget Support Loan from the International Monetary Fund IMF), new Domestic Borrowing to finance the Revised 2020 Appropriation Act, the issuance of the N162.557bn Sukuk, and Promissory Notes issued to settle Claims of Exporters.”
HURIWA lamented that officially, the multilateral debts are the highest of the stock of N16.360trn accounting for 51.97% of the total stock. The 10 agencies include IMF, World Bank Group, the African Development Bank (AfDB) Group, Eurobonds and Diaspora bonds just as the bilateral debts account for N3.948trn representing 12.54% of the debt stock taken from the international development agencies of China, France, Japan, India and Germany.
The third debt category is the commercial debt which is N11.168trn and represents 35.48% of the debt. This is the second largest debt after those of the multilateral agencies with Eurobonds and Diaspora bonds accounting for them.
The Rights group cited media reports as stating sadly that the debt stock will rise with the expected borrowing from the World Bank, African Development Bank and the Islamic Development Bank which were arranged to finance the 2020 Budget Appropriation.
The Rights group has therefore for the umpteenth time called on President Muhammadu Buhari’s administration to stop forthwith the neocololonial tendencies of enslavement of Nigeria as one of the most notoriously heavily indebted third World nation.