From the Chairman of the Senate Committee on Foreign and Local Debts, Shehu Sani (APC Kaduna Central), came yesterday a declaration that Nigeria’s total debts at present stands at $60 billion .
This was revealed just as the Islamic Development Bank (IDB) declared that Nigeria spends 80 per cent of her revenue on debt servicing.
Making the disclosure yesterday during courtesy visit to Senator Sani at the National Assembly, the Resident Representative of IDB in Nigeria, Abdallah Mohammed Kiliaki, said though Nigeria’s Debts GDP ratio is low at 17%, resources being used to pay the debts are enormous going by percentages taken on yearly basis.
According to him, for Nigeria not to get herself suffocated by such huge debt servicing with limited resources, there is urgent need for her to expand the scope of its resources through diversification of her economy into other critical areas, especially agriculture, on the template of value addiction from production to processing and to export to earn foreign incomes.
He declared that the recent visit of the 19 northern governors to the head office of the Bank in Jeddah, Saudi Arabia for rehabilitation assistance for the Internally Displaced Persons (IEDPs) in North Eastern States, has no financing envelope agreement yet, being a sensitization move.
According to him, even if the governors had approached the bank for definite financial assistance, there was no way the Federal Government of Nigeria would not be carried along.
“No amount of financing was agreed upon by the bank and the governors during their recent visit to Jeddah since we don’t deal with states directly for such purposes”, he said.
In his remarks, Sani urged the bank and other multilateral financial institutions to stop propping the country into taking more loans on account of its low ratio of debts servicing to GDP, saying what is 17% today may, if needed control measures are not applied, go up to 77% and invariably returning the country to where it was before 2006 when London and Paris club wrote off substantial part of her foreign debts.
He told IDB through its representative to be practically involved in the country’s effort at diversification of her economy and not just presenting her guided loan offer, warning that “henceforth, his committee would monitor every cent, every dollar and even kobo any government in Nigeria borrows”
He said: “Available records have clearly shown that Nigeria’s total debts profile stands at $60billion out of which $10.6billion is from foreign loans.
“Borrowing should simply be a last option for any serious minded government and not just first option of way out of problems at hand because we don’t need to overburden our next generations for repayment of needless loans taking before their time”.