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Delegates want Nigeria's debt profile monitored

04 June 2014, 08:44

Abuja - Some delegates at the National Conference on Tuesday called on the Federal Government to properly monitor and reduce Nigeria’s debt profile.

The delegates made the call when they contributed to the Public Revenue and Finance Committee report in Abuja.

They said the rate of Nigeria’s borrowing was not healthy for the future of the country.

While some said the country had no reason to borrow considering its wealth others said borrowing should be limited to financing capital projects.

The delegate, representing Senators’ Forum, Sen. Kofoworola Akerele, emphasised the need to discourage external borrowing.

Akerele said it was external borrowing that led to the introduction of economic programmes such as structural adjustment programme.

According to her, the country is still nursing its wounds till today.

“To say that we have not reach the international 40 per cent bench-mark for borrowing is not acceptable.”

“From the committee report given to us, in 2005, we owned 32 billion dollars, which was reduced by negotiation to 3.2 billion dollars.”

“At the moment our debt profile is 65 billion dollars which is double of what it was at that time. We know that most of the debts were incurred by the state governments,” Akerele said.

She urged the committee to recommend the establishment of a debt monitoring office in the states.

“This is to monitor and make sure that these debts that are being incurred supposedly for capital projects are actually implemented,” Akerele said.

Sen. Iyabo Anisulowo, representing Senators’ Forum, stressed the need to discourage governments from incurring debts, and called for prompt payment for awarded contracts.

“I want us to stop ballooning domestic debt. Apart from this, local contractors should be paid appropriately so that there would be circulation of money in the system,” Anisulowo said.

Hajiya Ramatu Usman, representing National Council for Women Society, said the country should not continue to be a perpetual borrower.

According to her, we need to proactively develop our economy in the area of solid minerals.

“Nigeria being the largest growing economy in Africa, it should be seen lending money to other African countries otherwise the eagle will soon become a hawk.”

In his contribution, Dr Edet Ekerendu, a retired Civil Servant, said if the country must borrow, it should be for the financing of capital projects to close the gap for infrastructure deficits.

-    NAN

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