With Reno Omokri
In the last four years, the General Buhari administration has taken more foreign debt than almost all past administrations of the last 30 years put together. I am not referring to domestic debt, which does not have the capacity to enslave a nation. I am referring to foreign debt.
Despite the shenanigans of this administration to obscure the fact, the truth, as I said during my Arise TV interview, is that on May 29, 2015, the Jonathan government handed over to the Buhari administration and left it with a foreign debt of $10. 3 billion. Of that amount, $7 billion was owed by the Federal Government, while $3.3 billion was owed by the states, with Lagos state owing a whopping $1 billion.
Of the $7 billion foreign debt owed by the Federal Government in 2015, much of it was inherited from previous administrations, because even though the Obasanjo administration had paid off our total foreign debt in 2006, Nigeria continued to borrow reasonably.
But after just four years of the Buhari administration, Nigeria’s foreign debt ballooned from $10.3 billion, to $27.1 billion, of which the Federal Government is owing a whopping $22.8 billion, while the states and the Federal Capital Territory are owing $4.2 billion.
These numbers are all sourced from the Debt Management Office’s website and I urge my readers to verify directly from the horse’s mouth to ensure that I am not deceiving them.
In just 4 years, the Buhari administration has increased our foreign debt by 300%. But that is not even the big question. The issue is what have they done with the money?
We saw what the Jonathan administration did. The single largest infrastructure ever built in Nigeria is the 187 kilometre super fast Abuja-Kaduna railway and it was built by that government. Nigeria no longer has episodic plane crashes because the Johnathan government paid for and installed the Total Radar Coverage of Nigeria (TRACON) project.
That administration also built and funded 14 new federal universities and 2 new polytechnics, as well as 165 almajiri schools.
Not done, the Jonathan government also built and commissioned the 500 megawatts Omotosho Power Plant Phase 2 with four gas turbines in Ondo State on Saturday, October 19, 2013 and also built and commissioned the 750 megawatts Olorunsogo power plant on Friday the 20th of February, 2015.
President Jonathan’s administration also built a number of dams, including the Nkari Earth dam, and completed and commissioned Phases 3 and 4 Lower Usuma Dam Water Treatment Plants,
That government also revived our national railways and introduced regular services in five of the six geopolitical zones,
These are just a few of the very visible projects that that administration spent our funds on. But what projects can you point to that the Buhari junta has initiated, started and completed in the last four years when they have taken unprecedented foreign loans?
We know they have not built a single school, except the so called Transport University in General Buhari’s village, which has only just started (one wonders who will go to Daura to study transport in an arid zone that is not conducive to the study of transport).
Rather than see projects in the midst of such profligate and unsustainable borrowings, Nigerians have seen the ruination of their economy and costs increases on commodities that are used daily such as petrol, kerosene, electricity tariffs, food and bank charges. This is not to mention the increase in taxes, like the Value Added Tax, and the introduction of new taxes, like the GSM tax.
Meanwhile, the fuel subsidy that Mr. Buhari claimed was “a fraud” and did not exist, is now gulping more money than it gulped under Jonathan, to the extent that in 2019, according to Daily Trust newspapers (a pro Buhari paper), the government has spent 1.5 trillion Naira so far!
And yet, this government wants to continue borrowing, when they have nothing to show for past borrowings. And they are not borrowing chicken change.
In their Medium Term Expenditure Framework, they plan to borrow $29.6 billion and the rubber stamping Farouk Lawan, who does not yet know that he is not Buhari’s houseboy, but the Senate President and chairman of Nigeria’s National Assembly, has prematurely declared that the senate, which he heads, will approve the loan request. This is even when it has not been debated at the senate.
Already, Nigeria has budgeted N2.7 trillion to service debts in the 2020 budget. To put this in perspective, note that we spent N1.46 trillion on debt servicing (not repayment, but servicing, which means just paying the minimum interest). Now, three years later, we are spending double that on debt servicing.
Meanwhile, our capital expenditure is just N2.4 trillion, and even worse, the budget for education is N48 billion! So, we are now spending more on debt servicing than we are spending on infrastructure (that is what Capital Expenditure is) and education, combined.
Yet, Buhari still wants to borrow! If we allow this new loan of $29.6 billion to be taken, Nigeria may soon be spending 100% of her income servicing debt! In fact, since most of our new debts under the Buhari regime comes from China, we run the risk of becoming like Sri Lanka, where China has foreclosed on that Asian nation and has seized their vital national infrastructure, like Hambantota Port, and lands.
The Maldives and Micronesian nations have also suffered a similar fate as Sri Lanka. Guys, we are in dangerous territory. We run the risk of seeing our children enter into second slavery, meanwhile, the Buhari, who has put us in this mess, would go on his jolly way, after spending N37 billion to renovate a building that was built at N7 billion! I sincerely hope that money is not a bribe to the National Assembly for their assent to the $29.6 billion loan, or worse still, for a Third Term amendment.
Everybody has been impoverished by this administration. And I mean everybody. Aliko Dangote, Africa and Nigeria’s richest man has seen his wealth reduce from $25 billion in 2014, to $12.4 billion today. It seems that the only person who has become richer is General Buhari, who no longer has to depend on his homosexual cows that never increase in number beyond 150!
Right now, Nigeria is the world headquarters for extreme poverty. Yet we are spending more on debt servicing than on ending poverty. What is going to happen to us and our children if this prodigal administration should be allowed to borrow an additional $29.6 billion? My guess is that we will move from extreme poverty to multidimensional poverty, which in layman’s terms is just poverty that is so deep, that words have not yet been coined to qualify it. God forbid!
Nigerians are the most educated people in the United States and the United Kingdom. Not one of the most educated. We are the most educated, bar none. We prosper overseas, to the extent that 77.7% (almost a spiritual number) of all Black doctors in the United States are Nigerian.
However, the worst place, educationally and for career progression, for a Nigerian to be, is Nigeria. Why? Because Nigeria under General Buhari has not prioritised education. You can imagine a situation where the amount budgeted for education (N48 billion), is only slightly higher than the amount budgeted to renovate a building (N37 billion). That is even as the entire building itself was built at a cost of just N7 billion.
Are we still the giant of Africa under these circumstances? Not by a long shot! Does the future look bright? If I say yes, I am lying. Can Nigeria survives this rapacious regime that has destroyed our economy and turned us to a beggar nation? I hope. I just hope.
How To Make The New Year, Your Best Year
List the people who had the most positive influence on you in 2019. Make a plan to associate with them more.
List the people who had the most negative influence on you in 2019. Make a plan to avoid them as much as possible
Find out what you spent most on in 2019
Find out how much of those things you can do by yourself and save (for instance, making your own lunch instead of eating out).
Invest the money you save from doing things by yourself. Don’t save it
Identify a bad habit which affected you in 2019 and plan to leave it in 2019.
Stick to the plans above