It is no longer news that President Muhammadu Buhari had an exclusive interview with Channels and NTA Televisions and spoke on several critical issues bedeviling the nation, including insecurity, economy, politics, Chinese loans secured by the administration as well as poor power supply, and his decline to sign the Electoral Act Amendment Bill.
Those who listened to the interview were not expected to hear something new that was not head before either from Mr President himself or the appointees in the administration.
The electorate never thought Baba would head a government bedeviled with boggling poor economic policies, poverty and insecurity challenges with endless things which are discrediting the administration’s goodwill and the nation at large.
There is mixed anticipation to more than 100 million Nigerians that are living in abject poverty.
Year 2021 was one of the hardest years for millions of Nigerians because of the Inflation, economic dwindling, and insecurity, as well as other sectors witnessing serious turmoil.
But still Nigerians are hoping for Allah’s blessing despite losing much confidence.
Asked about the administration poor economic performance with burden of foreign loans , the President said the administration took those (loans) where necessary as the government welcome, anybody that is prepared to come and help infrastructure to do the roads, the rail, and power.
Economists experts express worries over the country rising debt profile. In July, the National Assembly had approved President’s request to borrow $8.3 billion and €490 million loans contained in the initial 2018-2020 borrowing plan.
In the latter president said the loan request is an addendum to the 2018-2020 borrowing plan and that the new borrowing is to meet “emerging needs” for some “critical projects. In mid-September, the administration sought another approval of the Senate to borrow $4 billion and €710 million loan from bilateral and multilateral organisations to fund the deficit in the 2021 budget.
In 2021 over N3.3trn goes to Debt Servicing and also N3.9 trillion will be spent on debt servicing for 2022 budget. In spite of debt burden to the coming generation but over N15t fresh loans is being considered for 2022-2024.
Barely some days ago, Central Bank of Nigeria said Federal Government’s excessive borrowing from the Bank through the Means and Ways Advances window can have adverse effects on the Apex Bank’s monetary policy and subsequently harm domestic prices and exchange rates. This was disclosed in the monetary policy category of the CBN’s Frequently Asked Questions page.
In spite Nigeria’s public debt has risen since 1999, and foreign debt has grown three times more than the combined figure recorded by the past three administrations of Mr. Obasenjo, Late Umar Yar’adua and Jonathan. Nigerians already condemned perpetually with the twin problem of heavy budget deficits and weak balance of payments position. the total public debt stock which includes the external and domestic debts of the federal and state governments and the Federal Capital Territory.
The federal government’s share of the public debt jumped from N3.55 trillion in 1999 to N26.91 trillion in March 2021. This means the nation’s debt stock has risen by over 650 per cent in 21 years. DMO said. There is need for the Government to align cost of governance with economic realities because the country is poor but keep borrowing to fund programmes. Ideally government should take loans only for projects that have the ability to pay themselves back. If a project is not generating cash flow, it shouldn’t be taken.
Asked about suffering and pains Nigerians go through to feed themselves and their families under his administration. In his usual responds President said I’m absolutely aware of it “but like I said, look at the vast population of Nigerians, only 2.5 percent of the land are being cultivated.
How the People would embrace farming to solve the country’s myriads of economic challenges. Did the administration expects People back to farm at the mercy of armed gangs that roaming towns and villages at their will, wreaking havoc. The rising cost of living taking its toll on families, to be fair, I have came to terms with reality that commodities sellers are the monsters behind all the hardship people are going through.
Price hike on daily basis is a clear indication that they are the architects of the myriads of problems bedeviling Nigerians. In fact, the current commodities hike are artificial. Poor Nigerians seeing administration of being insensitive to their suffering doing nothing to control the hardship cause by heartless hiking of prices of commodities by manufacturers and sellers because government officials do not know where the shoe pinches since they live in comfort zone but the costs of goods are expensive for the common man to afford.
Very unfortunate in the 21st Century still peoples talking about daily survival crying of food prices beyond their affordability. Imagining our neighboring countries citizens have passed the level of hunger and can afford three square meals per day.
Asked about who he prefers to succeed him in 2023, the president said he had no favourite candidate and isn’t concerned about who emerges his successor at the polls. Here is right being the leader of party because both known and unknown presidential candidates are his party members but for him to said he is not interested in who becomes APC presidential candidate of the ruling All Progressive Congress (APC) and he is as open to the emergence of anyone it is is out of context.
Why did he cast his fear of not asking to give any evidence in any court when leaving office there is something shrouded behind the scene. When the time comes Nigerians will love to hear how the mess up happens and say the record will not set him free from the blame being the president.
The next general election will be like the 2015 elections which will come with high hopes and expectations from the citizenry towards correcting the country’s anomalies. Voters will love to vote for a leader who is abreast of social, economic, and political challenges facing the country and the candidate must have ready-mades proposals in the form of a manifesto to counter challenges. 2023 election can give Nigerians the opportunity to alter the course that can change their lives. I am sure the 2023 election will be interesting because people will vote for the competition in every position irrespective of a political party or religious affiliation.
The election is going to be like the incumbent administration will try to maintain continuity versus changing the continuity. The government should take proactive steps to reverse the situation. The government should do everything possible to redeem itself.
Dukawa writes from Kano