The past six years and some months of President Muhammadu Buhari’s administration have been characterized and stamped with incessant borrowing of funds for unseen infrastructural development. No doubt, growing economies worldwide have reasons to borrow; even as individuals we sometimes have need for extra funds or financial assistance. But worthy of note is that it is outlawed and ridiculous to borrow for consumption. Growing economies are not expected to borrow for consumption but for production. Nigeria today is stuffed in this stance. Nigeria with so much blessings still ‘borrow to pay borrow’.
As of March 31, 2021, Nigeria’s total public debt stood at over $87.2 billion which is about ₦33.1 trillion. Total Public Debt is composed of the domestic and external debt of the Federal Government, the 36 state governments and the Federal Capital Territory, FCT. So we are all involved in this. My question is “Who this money elp?” Who are the beneficiaries of these funds thus far? Skeletal strides are shown to further cloud the masses about this appalling moral fibre. Till date PMB wants to borrow more; most recent is the $30m that is, ₦12.3 billion loan to build vaccine plant. Why must we wait till this tick? Will this project see the light of day?
Each time analysts screech on papers about the incessant borrowing in this nation; those in government are quick to remind us of the Huge Infrastructure Deficit, Recession (twice in the last six years), Consecutive Budget Deficits, Low Revenue Base, compounded by dependence on one source – crude oil with dwindling prices and COVID-19 pandemic. In truth, it has been a tough and rough regime but these factors are not conclusively sufficient for the incessant borrowing of money. What we have in this nation can take care of our needs and prospective desires. But corruption is the stage manager.
One major factor that this administration has refused to accept is mismanagement or misappropriation of public funds. Recently, Nigeria was adjudged as the second most corrupt West African country on corruption index. Nigeria is almost synonymous with Corruption. Corruption is the first known ability of many Nigerians; politicians, police; pastors, teachers; engineers, doctors etc. Corruption has been a constant phenomenon in successive Government in Nigeria. It runs in every level of this nation; from massive contract fraud at the top, through petty bribery, money laundering schemes, fake drugs; exam malpractices and the likes.
Therefore rather than enslaving ourselves in a modern way and harming our national and international repute, let us work towards building transparency in government and organizations. It has been alarmed severally that if we don’t kill corruption; corruption will kill us. Obviously, as a nation we are already at the verge of the grave; no amount of funds we borrow can solve our problems. If public functionaries do not advocate and endorse the culture of excellence, accountability and service we shall further deteriorate regime after regime. Not until patriotism is enthroned, this tragedy will continue in episodes.