Editorial

WE CAN’T BE SUCH CHRONIC DEBTORS

The Debt Management Office reveals that as at June this year Nigeria’s total debt stock amounts to a monstrous 16 trillion naira. Out of this staggering amount, External Debt accounts for 18.33 %. This is what the Director General of the DMO calls “a very small external debt” to our consternation, in the face of dwindled exports and a very weak naira, making our capacity to repay very slim in the foreseeable future.
In his report, DMO’s DG, Dr Abraham Nwankwo, seemed to have gloated over the fact that only a few developing economies could boast of such “a healthy and attractive external debt condition” as we have, The condition is: an average annual interest rate of about i.25% and a tenor of 40 years. In the final analysis, our external debt profile will account for about 80% of the total debt stock. We wonder what is so healthy and attractive about this condition.
It took only ten years (when Nigeria exited the Paris club, 2005, and the London club, 2006, debts) to accumulate this huge debt, which leaves us wondering what this huge amount has been used for. This question does not seem to bother the authorities. Rather they are ‘doing their utmost to defend the borrowing and also to justify it to the people.
Thus our country gives the impression that borrowing will be a way of life for us for a long time to come. We do not agree,
Neither a borrower nor a lender be, so says the Holy Bible. And it is more blessed to give than to receive. This habit of chronic national profligacy with borrowed money cannot be anything but perverted. The authorities ought to do away with it, forthwith.
The process should begin again for debt repayment, national self-reliance and rebirth.  Despite this big newly accumulated debt, the tendency is there still to accumulate more since there are countries and institutions that are very willing to give. Let’s not fall for such snares because we don’t know the diabolical motives for such free and. generous gifts in the long run.  Nigeria must be wary of certain seeming friendships. In this era of change what Nigerians expect, is prudent utilization and management of private and public resources. We cannot be a habitual borrower country all the time.

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