By Fortune Eromosele
Ahead of the 2023 general elections, former Vice President and presidential candidate of the People’s Democratic Party, PDP, Atiku Abubakar, has said Nigeria needs to bake bigger cakes and not bigger debts.
Atiku said this in a statement he signed in Kano and made available to newsmen on Tuesday evening.
According to him, debts will never be a solution to Nigeria’s indebtedness, adding that if elected cum 2023, he will halt the rate of debt accumulation.
He said, “Last week the National Bureau of Statistics released the GDP figures for Q2 2022. The government has been unreasonably upbeat about the reported growth rate of 3.4 percent. The plain truth is that the economy is in deeper trouble than the APC-led government is willing to admit.
“The citizens’ level of misery hasn’t changed, and the reasons are obvious: first, the key sectors of the economy, notably agriculture, oil and gas (the country’s cash cow) and manufacturing (that contributes to jobs), are either growing slowly or declining.
“Second, unabated are rising commodity prices occasioned by high energy and transportation costs (and aggravated by the disorderliness in the forex market).
“Also, debt levels continue to rise while the fiscal capacity to service its debts is declining. All these are enough to erase the perceived gains from output growth.
“Having run out of ideas, it appears that our unprecedented level of indebtedness is whetting the government’s appetite for more debt. This is a recipe for macroeconomic instability.
“We challenge the National Bureau of Statistics to share with the public their recent statistics on poverty, unemployment and commodity prices — the reality of which will leave no hope for the common man.”
To this end, Atiku said, “Like I have said before, increasing debts will never be a solution to our indebtedness. My government, if elected, will halt the rate of debt accumulation and instead focus on private-public partnerships in financing development.
“Also is the consideration of a government of national unity that will douse the temperature, unite Nigerians and pave the way for improved security. Improved security allows for investments and, therefore, an improved economy.
“Also targeted tax rebates to attract foreign and local investments, amongst other proactive measures to attract investments to grow the economy,” the statement read in part.