Place Embargo on Further Borrowings, Group Calls on Nigeria’s Parliament

Place Embargo on Further Borrowings, Group Calls on Nigeria’s Parliament

…Says Borrowing is not a Substitute for Astute Economic Management

By Odili Christel

A Civil Society Group Social Action has called on Nigerian lawmakers to place a moratorium on further borrowing by the country,

as the group also urged the parliament to probe the usage of past borrowings by Nigerian leaders.

Head of National Advocacy, Social Action, Mrs. Vivian Bellonwu-Okafor made the call during a press conference on Nigeria’s debt profile, in Abuja, she disclosed that, Nigeria’s debt shot up with N12.06 trillion at the end of 1st quarter of 2015 to N19.6 trillion in September of 2017, while emphasizing that loan taking is not and would never be a substitute for astute economic recovery management.

Mrs Bellonwu noted that past administration did not display much responsibility as regards to borrowing, and that the present administration simply made a bad situation worse within a space of two years, thereby causing the Nation’s debt profile to shot up with an alarming 58% with no sign of relenting.

According to her, Nigeria has consistently for the past years operated on a deficit budget even as it devotes a painful chunk budgetary allocation to debt servicing for projects or services citizens have hardly enjoyed.

“These Monetary bodies including the IMF which are characteristically reticent especially in matters like this have come out openly to admonish the government to refrain from further borrowing stating clearly that the nation’s economy was not doing well enough to support such level of debt acquisitions and consequent debt servicing”.

She reiterated the position of the group that rather than acquiring vaguer loans that does not impact on the lives of the citizens but of which the burden of repayment is shifted to both them and the future generation.

“Government should put in place mechanisms to investigate and recover the several past failed loans, plug leakages which still abound in the system and ensure fiscal prudency: put in place policies and frameworks to activate the real sectors of the economy that have the capacity to engender growth and development”.

The group added in its demands that, “If it becomes absolutely necessary to borrow, details of the project to be executed with the borrowed fund be made public. The precise amount, interest rate and period of repayment should be published”.

Social Action also demanded, among others, that a Fiscal Responsibility Commission to stand up to its responsibility of effectively ensuring prudent utilization of all borrowed funds, particularly at state levels.

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