Obi raises alarm over Nigeria's soaring debt levels, says N97.3 trillion debt is worrisome

Mr. Peter Obi

Mr. Peter Obi, the prominent opposition figure and presidential candidate for the Labour Party in the 2023 general elections, has once again voiced his concerns over Nigeria's escalating debt burden, labeling the staggering N97.3 trillion figure as alarming.

In a statement released by his chief spokesperson, Dr. Yunusa Tanko, the former Anambra state governor highlighted the troubling trend of a significant portion of these debts not being utilized for productive purposes.

Expressing deep apprehension, Obi emphasized the detrimental impact on economic growth caused by allocating nearly N10 trillion towards servicing unproductive debts.

Explaining further his fears, Obi wrote in his X handle on Tuesday, April 2, 2024, saying "I remain concerned about our borrowings, considering their galloping situation over the years, and its concomitant effects on the economy. More worrisome is the fact that there has been no corresponding visible usage or investments as required by the law, to show their impact on the nation.

"At the end of the second quarter, Q2, of 2023, our debt stood at N87.9 trillion, which was very disturbing to us, because we were at a loss on what we did with the huge debt, especially the over N30 trillion ways and means borrowed by the last administration, which for me, would have been the end of borrowing without any visible and corresponding investment that will benefit the nation.

"Even more worrisome is that between the end of the third quarter, Q3, and the end of the fourth quarter, Q4, of 2023, about N10 trillion was added to our debt profile, which has now taken our debts to N97.3 trillion, again, without any corresponding visible and verifiable utilization of such debts, to the and best of my knowledge, is the highest ever borrowed in one quarter.

"Last year, 2023, our total debt servicing for domestic debts stood at N4.4 trillion and that of external debt servicing was $3.5 billion, which is about N4.9 trillion. In effect, approximately N10 trillion is now set aside to service unproductive debts. 

"The implication is that what we borrowed in a quarter about N10 trillion and what we spend on debt servicing, which is also about N10 trillion, are each more than the combined budgetary allocation for the four highest priority areas, which are; defence (N3.25trn), Education (N2.18trn), Health (1.33trn), and Infrastructure (N1.32trn).

"My appeal to the government of our nation is to please de-accelerate the borrowing, and let us first re-evaluate to see what has, been achieved with our previous loans so far and be able to make better decisions for the good of the nation. 

"In the New Nigeria of our dream, our scarce resources will not only be duly accounted for but will be productively and prudently managed in moving our nation from consumption to production.

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