Buhari’s Successor To Inherit N39.12tn Debt

The next president of Nigeria after President Muhammadu Buhari will inherit N39.12tn debt, Daily Report understands.

President Buhari had on Friday October 7, 2022 presented a budget of N20.51 trillion for the year 2023 to the National Assembly during a joint session.

The latest presentation is observed to be 15.37 per cent higher than the budget presented in the previous year.

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All budgets presented to the lawmakers by the Buhari administration from 2016 spanning through 2023 have been estimated to be worth N93.453tn.

It was discovered that out of the budgets, a total of N67.4tn has been committed to recurrent expenditure, including the payment of salaries and emoluments of civil servants and legislators.

The reported amount according to The PUNCH is 72.1 per cent of the entire budget devoted to recurrent expenditure in the life of the incumbent government.

A record published on the official website of the Debt Management Office (DMO) revealed that the All Progressives Congress (APC) administration which inherited a debt of N12.12tn on June 30, 2015, would be leaving office with a huge debt increased by 253% from the previous debts.

Nigeria’s debt according to DMO had surged to N42.84tn by June 30, 2022. As seen in the statistics, the incumbent government presented a budget of N6.061tn in 2016, the first of the APC leadership after taking over power from the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) administration led by Goodluck Ebele Jonathan in 2015.

The budget was pinpointed to have heralded Nigeria’s first recession under the regime. The budget was increased to N7.44tn in 2017; N9.1tn in 2018; N8.916tn in 2019; and N10.8tn in 2020. The budget for 2021 and 2022 rose to N13.6tn and N17.126tn, respectively. The estimates presented to the National Assembly last Friday for 2023 put the figure at N20.51tn.

Financial experts and concerned citizens, worry about the huge debt that will be inherited by the incoming administration.

As the 2023 elections draw near, former Vice President, Atiku Abubakar is on the platform of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) promising to deliver Nigeria from its current state.

Also the likes of former Governor of Anambra State, Peter Obi, who is holding the flag of the Labour Party, and former Governor of Lagos State, Asiwaju Bola Ahmed Tinubu, and founder of the growing New Nigeria Peoples Party (NNPP), Rabiu Musa Kwankwaso have all promised to have viable solutions to Nigeria’s current challenges in their briefcases.

While the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) has promised to deliver a free, fair and credible election in the 2023 polls, the electorates, however, with their Permanent Voter Cards (PVC), will determine who would be the ‘saviour’ amongst the top candidates after February 25, 2023 polls.

Last week, experts expressed worries over the presentation of the 2023 Appropriation Bill, titled ‘Budget of Fiscal Sustainability and Transition’ presented before a joint session of the National Assembly by President Buhari.

Buhari had said during the presentation of the budget that fiscal operations of the Federal Government result in a deficit of N10.78tn, which represents 4.78% of the estimated Gross Domestic Product (GDP) above the three per cent threshold set by the Fiscal Responsibility Act 2007.

However, Buhari’s plan to finance the deficit majorly by new borrowings totalling N206.18 billion from privatisation proceeds and N1.77 trillion draw-downs on bilateral/multilateral loans secured for specific development projects/programmes has been described as insensitive and absurd by some stakeholders.

Some financial experts have described the 2023 proposed budget as a ritual, adding that the government’s plan to finance it from borrowing is not only absurd but it will worsen the country’s debt burden.

In a chat with newsmen, an Economist and Professor of Management and Accounting at Leads City University in Ibadan, Godwin Oyedokun, said the Federal Government was callous and insensitive because it’s only borrowing to further its own selfish goals.

He pointed out that it is insensitive on the part of the government to be borrowing at this stage, and that they are borrowing for the next generation to pay since they have less than 9 months left.

According to him, the amount of credit Nigeria has been borrowing has not resulted in much in terms of equal infrastructure development, and borrowings are simply economic extortion.

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