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Obi To Tinubu: Borrow To Build Not To Consume On Luxury Items Or Nigeria Will Crash

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Obi stated this on Tuesday in a statement he personally signed and obtained by THE WHISTLER, wherein he lambasted the National Assembly for always being ready to approve whatever the president brings before it.

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According to the ex-Anambra State governor, the current approach will only wreck the country as the president embarks on a spending spree in unproductive areas like his predecessor, Mohammadu Buhari.

Obi said, “Barely 26 days to the end of its eight-year tenure, the Buhari administration got the Senate to approve a N22.7 trillion Ways and Means borrowing from the CBN.

“In seven years, CBN lending to the Buhari government had climbed 2700% in flagrant violation of the CBN Act.

“Indifferent to the illegality of the excessive ways and means borrowing, the National Assembly still approved the new Tinubu administration’s request for an N7.3 trillion securitization of the existing ways and means facility just before considering the 2024 budget proposals.

“On the 30th of December 2023, the last working day of the year 2023, shockingly the President requested the National Assembly to approve the securitization of N7.3 trillion being the outstanding debt owed to the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) by the Federal Government of Nigeria.

“Almost at the same time as the illegal securitization was approved by parliament, the president also sought and secured National Assembly approval to borrow another $7.8 bn and €100m.

“No questions asked. No explanations were sought as to the precise purpose of these borrowings all within the seven-month tenure of this government,” Obi lamented.

According to him, the minimum public accountability should require that the president and his administration offer more specific explanations about the purpose of these borrowings.

“But so far, all we have been told is that these borrowings are meant to fund ‘capital expenditure’,” he stated.

He added that, “The continuous securitization of Ways and Means borrowing from the CBN is against the law and against the CBN act which stipulates the limit of the Federal Government’s borrowing from the CBN not to exceed 5% of the previous year’s revenue.

“More importantly, the CBN Act expressly states that all borrowings under the Ways and Means cannot be converted to debt or securitized if the CBN is the underwriter,” Obi added.

He argued that, “It needs to be pointed out that the idea of securitization of illegal borrowings from the CBN and transferring the same into our debt stock portends danger to the future of our economy.

“It increases the debt burden of the nation. It is even more worrisome because these accumulations of debts are not being transparently and productively utilised or accounted for.

“While this new debt of N7.3 trillion has been hurriedly approved without scrutiny by the National Assembly, the immediate public accountability question is: can the Federal Government, which holds the trust of the people, tell us what they used N7.3 trillion to do?

“We have always been told that all borrowings are for ‘capital’ projects, can we know the capital or productive projects this huge borrowing is being applied to?

“What is emerging is a disturbing pattern of huge borrowing and profligate spending on nonessential procurements which are being termed ‘capital’ expenditure and are being funded with an accumulation of debts.

“For instance, a good number of these so-called ‘capital’ expenditure items as contained in the 2024 budget are more procurement and luxury projects,” Obi added.

He lamented that this “trend of lavish spending backed only by equally lavish borrowing” is unsustainable and would “wreck the economy in due course.”

He stressed the need to go beyond politics and partisan grandstanding to address the fundamental issues of rational economic management at this time.

“I am afraid that the current administration is not paying sufficient attention to issues of rational economic management,” Obi pointed out.

He said, “Instead, an unsustainable level of debt is being piled upon the economy thereby further burdening our already distressed populace who are bearing the burden of harsh economic policies not backed by compassionate cushioning policies.”

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