An economic and investment consultant, Dr. Vincent Nwani, on Thursday warned the federal government led by President Muhammadu Buhari against taking further loans to the present external debt, which stood at N24.3 trillion.
The Director General, Debt Management Office (DMO), Patience Oniha, had in April while addressing a press conference in Abuja, declared that Nigeria’s total debt profile as of December 31, 2018, stands at N24.387tn. The figure rose by 12.25 per cent from N21.725tn in 2017 to N24.39tn in 2018.
But, Nwani, who gave analysis of the nation’s debt burden and the lackluster economy status of the country, said that the national GDP which is at 2.5 at the moment is too weak for development of the country.
Nwani, who is the immediate past Director of Advocacy at the Lagos Chamber of Commerce and Industry (LCCI), however, warned the present administration under Buhari against further debt.
Nwani while speaking in Ibadan, the Oyo state capital at the South West Region’s edition of the First City Monument Bank (FCMB) Media Knowledge Development Event (MKDE) themed, “Nigeria in 2019: low growth Vs rising risks”, argued that borrowing for developmental projects was never a crime, he nonetheless added that the effect of the borrowing on the masses is the concern of the economic experts in the country.
According to him, Nigerian is felling the effect of the world currency crashes and the global trade growth which is pending at 0.5 percent in the first quarter of the year.
He blamed sleepy economic performance of the country on the challenges of insecurity facing the country, poor policies of the government, and poor tax collection in Nigeria.
He said; “In 2015, our external debt was N12. 1 trillion but before the end of 2018, it rose to N24.3 trillion. Though, I know it is never a crime to borrow money, but you must know what you are doing with the money you are borrowing. Today, no concrete project is going on in the country and we keep borrowing money. Today, our GDP is 2.5 which was above 6.0 few years ago. This is very weak for a country like Nigeria.
“You media practitioners need to challenge government on the new policy on loan for importation of food, especially milk. If you raise money to import without going through the CBN, when you get to port of entry, you will have problems.”
Nwani, who also disclosed that Nigeria’s economy is under invasions, warned that it may be worse if proper care is not taking to address the problem now, as he appealed to the federal government to tackle power generation issue, insecurity and make internet available at cheaper rates to all Nigerians.
“Nigeria economy is under all forms of invasions. And the way it is going, it will be worse. A small country like Morocco has been planning to do what they are doing now years ago. People should get money at the right time and WS should reduce the interest rate. At least let there be stable light.
“We are very vulnerable, our economy is very large because of our population. Our psychology is centered on enjoyment. The vehicle that is manufactured today, you will see that Nigerians are the first ten to buy it. Our governance level is now the worse. So, we are vulnerable. We are taking about technological invasion. Theresa May resigned, but nobody resign in Nigeria.
Nwani, while speaking on the recent closure of the Nigerian boarders, said the United States of America, despite the security challenge never closed its borders, urging Nigeria government to take a queue from the advanced economy of the world.