Paschal Emeka, Abuja
The Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) 2023 presidential candidate, former Vice President, Atiku Abubakar has advised the Federal Government to slow down the rate of debt accumulation by promoting more Public Private Partnerships in critical infrastructure funding.
Atiku in a statement on Friday explained that a recent revelation by the Finance Minister that the cost of servicing Nigeria’s debt has surpassed the Federal Government’s retained revenue by N310 billion in the first quarter of the year is very worrisome.
He said the rising rate of debt must be in breach of all known reasonable debt-sustainability thresholds. Atiku also questioned the capacity of President Muhammadu Buhari-led administration to manage the country.
He said the All Progressives Congress (APC) led Federal Government has further endangered macro-economic stability in Nigeria. The PDP 2023 election presidential candidate expressed concern that the economic policies of this government have further exposed “Nigeria to financial stability issues as we slip from a medium risk of debt distress to high risk of debt distress”.
He stated: “I had on several occasions warned that not only is the fiscal cost of government’s indiscriminate borrowing so enormous but has even greater opportunity costs as we sacrifice investments in critical areas, including education, health, and other basic services.”
The former Vice President cautioned that this is certainly detrimental to Nigeria’s long-term growth. He called for a “review of the current utilization of all borrowed funds and ensure that they are deployed more judiciously. Specifically, the government must ensure that all borrowed funds are for priority infrastructure projects that would generate income, boost output, and put the economy on the path of sustainable growth.”
He further recommended: “Review the country’s debt strategy by focusing on concessional and semi-concessional sources with lower interest rates and relatively long-term maturity. The government must reduce the issuance of short-dated debt instruments.
“Take steps to improve its spending efficiency and drastically cut unnecessary and wasteful expenditure.”