Atiku Criticizes Buhari’s $29.6Billion Loan Request

The Senate President, Ahmad Lawan, on Monday, gave the clearest indication yet that the Senate would pass a $29.96 billion loan request by President Muhammadu Buhari. On November 28, president Buhari forwarded a request to the Senate to reconsider and approve the federal government’s 2016 to 2018 external borrowing plan.

Former Vice President Atiku Abubakar has criticized President Buhari’s $29.6 billion loan request which he described as irresponsible. Atiku alleged that Buhari was trying to ruin the future of Nigerians with the loan request which Senate President Ahmad Lawan said will be approved despite its rejection in the 8th senate.

President Buhari explained that the external borrowing plan targets projects cuts across all sectors with special emphasis on infrastructure, agriculture, health, education, water supply, growth and employment generation.

Atiku who affirmed that Nigeria’s problem is not the lack of money but the inability of Nigerians to make the right leadership decisions. He also pointed out a way the Buhari-led administration can get the loan they seek for without neccesarily plunging the nation into debt. He disclosed that deploying Saudi Arabia’s ARAMCO strategy to the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC) will generate the loan and also increase foreign direct investment. He said:

The fact that Nigeria currently budgets more money for debt servicing (2.7 trillion), than we do on capital expenditure (2.4 trillion) is already an indicator that we have borrowed more money than we can afford to borrow. And the thing is that debt servicing is not debt repayment. Debt servicing just means that we are paying the barest minimum allowable by our creditors.

And while spending 50% of our current revenue on debt servicing, this administration wants to take further loans of $29.6 billion! To say that this is irresponsible is itself an understatement.

President Olusegun Obasanjo and I paid off this nation’s debt, and I will not stand idly by and watch while Nigeria is plunged into second slavery by those who only know how to reap where they have not sown.

In my economic blueprint, I said that rather than turn in regular losses (which it has consistently been doing), the best thing to do with the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation is to reform it. Of course, the administration’s paid propagandists went into overdrive, accusing me of planning to sell the NNPC to my friends.

But just last week, Saudi Arabia’s ARAMCO, the most profitable company in the world, took that route and almost broke the global stock market with the most successful initial IPOs in world history, bar none. Ironically, Saudi Aramco raised $29.4 billion via this IPO. Just the amount this administration wants to borrow.

That could have been Nigeria’s story, but for our failure of leadership. By reforming the NNPC, Nigeria can raise the $29.6 billion the Buhari regime wants to borrow, and we will raise the money without going into debt.

Nigerian youths should identify the Senator representing their senatorial zones and write to them, urging them to vote against this request.

I was part of a team that paid off Nigeria’s entire foreign debt. I, therefore, cannot sit and watch an administration without vision squander our children’s future by taking and wasting loans that they do not even have the capacity to utilise properly.

Our youth must have something better to inherit from us than unsustainable debt fuelled by insatiable greed. That is why I call on the Senate of the National Assembly to show loyalty to Nigeria and reconsider its decision with regards to approving Buhari’s $29.6 billion loan request.

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