Ex-Nigerian President Olusegun Obasanjo has condemned the continuous borrowing by the President Muhammadu Buhari regime, saying accumulating debt for future generation is foolish and criminal.
Mr Obasanjo’s statement comes in the wake of Mr Buhari’s request to the National Assembly for a fresh $4 billion loan.
“If we are borrowing for recurrent expenditure it is height of folly. If you are borrowing for development that can pay itself, of course, that is understandable. Then paying itself, how long will it take to pay itself,” Mr Obasanjo said in a video shared by Channels TV Sunday night. “But if you are borrowing and you are accumulating debt for the next generation and the generation after them, it is criminal to put it mildly.”
Mr Obasanjo, whose administration is lauded for clearing Nigeria’s foreign debt, wondered what the Buhari-led regime is borrowing for, explaining that his administration back then was spending N3.5 billion on debt servicing. He did not specify whether it was monthly or annually.
“What are we borrowing for? When I came in as an elected President we were spending $3.5 billion to service debt and even with that our quantum of debt was not going down,” Mr Obasanjo said.
In April, the Senate approved $1.5 billion and €995 million external borrowings which were part of the $5.5 billion and €995 million external borrowings sought for by the president in May last year to finance the country’s budget.
According to Nigerian Domestic and Foreign Debt Report, published this year by the National Bureau of Statistics (NBS), the country’s total public debt as of September 2020 stood at N32.2 trillion ($84.57 billion).