The All Progressives Congress (APC) has faulted claims by Gov. Godwin Obaseki of Edo State, that Nigerian economy was in critical situation due to huge debt burden.
According to News Agency of Nigeria (NAN), Retired Col. David Imuse, chairman of the state APC caretaker committee, said this in a statement by Mr Ofure Osheobo, the assistant secretary of the committee on Monday in Benin.
Imuse described Obaseki’s criticism of the Federal Government on handling of the economy as ‘a classic case of the pot calling the kettle black.’
“The true position is that under Obaseki’s watch, the economy of Edo is in dire straits with the governor bereft of ideas on how to get it out.
“The state is engulfed in a foreign debt of 300 million dollars and a domestic debt including loans from commercial banks, the capital market, and other doubtful sources, approaching N120billion as at March, for non-existent projects.
“In the past seven months, Obaseki has plunged Edo into higher debts by taking more loans which has seen a 67 per cent increase in its debt profile.
“Edo under him has overtaken Rivers as the state with the highest foreign and domestic debt in the South South and it is on a steady course to displace Lagos as Nigeria’s most indebted state,” he said.
Imuse said that while Kogi had successfully reduced its domestic debt from N132.5 billion to N73 billion, Edo had spent more money servicing debts than financing education, healthcare and infrastructure even without a state cabinet.
He described as spurious, alarmist, untrue and wicked, claim by Obaseki that Nigeria was on its way to becoming another Argentina in terms of low currency value.
He advised the governor to use his membership of the National Economic Council, Nigerian Governors Forum and Nigerian Economic Summit to offer useful suggestion on how to move the economy forward.
This, he said was better than singling himself out for pediatric applause, because the management of Nigerian economy was not just the responsibility of one person, but that of the government, of which he was a part.
“Everybody today knows that since 2015 when APC came on the scene, Nigeria has been on the path of progress and things are definitely much better than how PDP left it,” he said.
The Edo State governor who has been in the news for his statement that “the country is in huge financial trouble” as attracted different reactions.
Obaseki made this statement in a State transition committee stakeholders’ engagement.
According to The Cable, he said that:
“Nigeria has changed. The economy of Nigeria is not the same again whether we like it or not. Since the civil war, we have been managing, saying money is not our problem as long as we are pumping crude oil every day,”.
“So we have run a very strange economy and strange presidential system where the local, state and federal government, at the end of the month, go and earn salary. We are the only country in the world that does that.
“Everywhere else, governments rely on the people to produce taxes and that is what they use to run the local government, state and the federation.
“But with the way we run Nigeria, the country can go to sleep. At the end of the month, we just go to Abuja, collect money and we come back to spend. We are in trouble, huge financial trouble.
“The current price of crude oil is only a mirage. The major oil companies who are the ones producing are no longer investing much in oil. Shell is pulling out of Nigeria and Chevron is now one of the world’s largest investors in alternative fuel, so in another year or so, where will we find this money that we go to share in Abuja?
“When we got FAAC for March, the federal government printed additional N50-N60 billion to top-up for us to share,” he said.
“This April, we will go to Abuja and share. By the end of this year, our total borrowings are going to be within N15-N16 trillion. Imagine a family that is just borrowing without any means to pay back and nobody is looking at that, everybody is looking at 2023, everybody is blaming Mr. President as if he is a magician.” He said.