January 5, 2023

N77trn Debt: Buhari borrowed Nigeria back to stone age — Sowore

N77trn Debt: Buhari borrowed Nigeria back to stone age — Sowore

Says repayment of debts’ ll be halted until audited, if elected

By Ezra Ukanwa

FOLLOWING a recent revelation of the nation’s debt of about 77 trillion Naira, the presidential candidate of the African Action Congress, AAC, Omoyele Sowore, on Thursday, accused President Muhammadu Buhari of “borrowing Nigeria back to Stone Age.”

Recall that the Director-General, DG, of the Debt Management Office, Patience Oniha disclosed recently during a public presentation of the 2023 budget, that Nigeria’s public debt burden may hit N77 trillion if the National Assembly approved the request by President Muhammadu Buhari to restructure the Ways and Means Advances. 

However, Sowore stated that if elected president in 2023, the repayment of the 77 trillion naira in debt amassed by the previous administration would be suspended until a thorough audit is conducted.

Sowore who played host to a television presidential interview, in Lagos, also explained that his government would prefer to use available resources on infrastructure development in addition to other urgent needs of the nation rather than paying down the N77 trillion debt.

His words: “As President, I am going to pause repayment of debts until I audit the debts, that is what I will do first and foremost when I am sworn in. I am not paying any debt until the audits are properly done. 

“This is because we need money to fix the country because Buhari has borrowed Nigeria back to the Stone Age; everybody has agreed on that. But, our problem is not the debt to GDP ratio, our problem is debt to revenue ratio, and the revenue, we will aggressively increase.”

Speaking on his plans to increase the revenue generation of the country, if elected, he said: “I have said this several times and I have identified several other revenue sources that have either been hidden, or have not been harnessed the way they should be. 

“I have identified taxes that are owed to the Nigerian states that are up to about 4.5 billion by oil companies. We have identified about N3 trillion of revenue generating government agencies that are not remitted to the federal government’s purse. 

“We have identified monies that could come from the NLNG that is the Nigeria Liquefied Natural Gas Company, that is over $5 billion that is not remitted directly to the federal government but is remitted to the NNPC and the NNPC just quaff the money. So, I have identified several other products that can get into the international market at this time. A lot of mineral resources that are being sold under the table that we have identified that they brought into the official and formal processes that will give you a lot of money.”

Speaking on the subject of subsidies, Sowore claimed that what the country refers to as subsidies is actually a fake conduit set up by political cabals to profit themselves at the expense of the nation’s communal resources.

Against the odds, Sowore said he would maintain Subsidy, explaining that: “If you remove the so-called subsidy without any plan to support the poor in the country that means petrol will go to 1000 Naira and you are paying slave wages of 30, 000 Naira per month. How do people survive in this country? That’s the question we should be asking. 

“Government should not exist to make life miserable for the citizens? It should exist to find solutions to problems and afflicting the populace and that is what we are saying and that is what we stand for so that they will stop deceiving you every year”, he added.