By Dirisu Yakubu
ABUJA- With barely four months to the general election, the Peoples Democratic Party, PDP, has aimed a salvo in the direction of the ruling All Progressives Congress, APC, accusing Vice President, Yemi Osinbajo of bandying figures about the nation’s debt profile that are far from being accurate.
The party yesterday said in the desperation to divert attention from the “failures” of President Muhammadu Buhari administration, Vice President Osinbajo falsified financial templates recently to argue that this government has no blame in the accumulation of debts under its watch.
The Vice President had at a lecture in Ibadan recently said the Buhari-led administration inherited a debt of $63 billion saying it had only borrowed $10 billion since it took office in 2015.
He made the disclosure in Ibadan on Saturday during the 9th Public Lecture of Sigma Club at the International Conference Centre, University of Ibadan.
“In 2010, our debt was $35 billion, $41 billion in 2011, $48 billion in 2012, $64 billion in 2013, $67.7 billion in 2014, $63.8 billion in 2015, $57.8 billion in 2016, $70 billion in 2017 and $73 billion in 2018” he said.
“The nation’s debt as at today was $73 bilłion, an increment of $10 billion from the $63 billion inherited in 2015.”
He said the nation’s oil earnings was $119.8 billion between 1990 to 1998, $481 billion from 1999 to 2009 and $381 billion from 2010 to 2014, while the present administration has only earned $112 billion from June 2015.
“The earnings from oil from 2010 to 2014 were the highest recorded in the history of the country. This is a period when the price of oil per barrel sold from $100 to $114,” he had said.
Addressing a press conference at the party’s national secretariat, National Publicity Secretary of the party, Kola Ologbondiyan said “It is an incontrovertible fact that the Buhari administration has accumulated more debts that any other administration in the history of our nation.”
“Our dear Vice President forgot the Nigerians are aware that between 2016 to 2017, under President Buhari, our annual borrowing was about N3.7 trillion as against the N1.04 trillion annual borrowing parameter between 2008 to 2015. Between 1999 to 2007, the annual borrowing parameter was as low as N96 billion naira.
“To deceive the public and divert attention to the alarming borrowing spree of the Buhari administration, the APC-led federal government converted domestic debt borrowed in naira under its watch, to the US dollar so that the very high exchange rate will make the domestic debt look smaller in dollars. This is a deceptive picture because domestic debt was accumulated in naira and not in dollar.
“It is important to point out that the domestic debts of states were not part of the data base until 2013. Therefore, a sincere comparison of debts over the years should have focused on total external debt and Federal Government’s domestic debt.
The publicity scribe also said the party’s Presidential campaign will be issue-based.
“We will focus on issues that have direct bearing on the welfare of Nigerians who have suffered enough hardship, pain and anguish in the last three and half years.
“Our campaign will focus on solutions. The PDP will not allow itself to be dragged down into the marshes of propaganda, smear campaign, lies and deceit of the fading, discredited and rejected APC.
“We will focus on issues of putting our people back to work by creating opportunities for the youths and the over 30 million Nigerians who have lost their means of livelihood because of the harsh economic policies of the Buhari administration,” he said.