….Says Buhari lacks ideas to create wealth
By Dirisu Yakubu
ABUJA— Barely a week after drawing the attention of Nigerians to the nation’s increasing debt stock since the assumption of office by President Muhammadu Buhari, former Vice President, Alhaji Atiku Abubakar, yesterday said N2.5 trillion would go down the drain by the end of 2019 in debt servicing.
Atiku in a statement, entitled “Can a nation survive like this?” said the alarm he raised recently had been vindicated with the release of debt-related statistics by the nation’s statistical bureau.
Signed by his media adviser, Paul Ibe, Peoples Democratic Party, PDP, presidential candidate in the February 23 election, expressed worry that what the Buhari-led administration has spent in debt servicing in the past three months was more than the allocation to some critical sectors in the 2019 budget.
The statement read: “Again, Atiku Abubakar wishes to draw the attention of stakeholders in the Nigerian project to the existential threat affecting Nigeria and for which the General Buhari-led administration has chosen to ignore.
“Recall that last week, Atiku Abubakar urged immediate action to address Nigeria’s unsustainable debt burden. This is especially as the National Economic Council, which he chaired in 2006, paid off Nigeria’s entire debt under the leadership of President Olusegun Obasanjo.
“As if to vindicate the former vice president, the National Bureau of Statistics has released the first quarter statistics, which revealed that in the first quarter of 2019 (January to March), General Buhari’s regime spent a whopping N610.2 billion on debt servicing for domestic debts. Note that these monies were spent on servicing (paying interest) debt, not in repaying debt.
“To put this in perspective, in the first three months of 2019, what Nigeria has spent on servicing domestic debts, so far, is more than the combined entire budget for education and youth development for the whole of 2019.
“How did this happen? How could an administration double our national debt from N12 trillion in 2015 to N24.9 trillion today and still have no tangible evidence of development to show for it?
“The reason is that no matter how much resources you give a man who does not know how to create wealth, it will never be enough.
“If the current trend continues, Nigeria will have spent N2.5 trillion on debt servicing by the end of 2019, a figure that is more than our capital budget. Can a nation survive like this?”