THE Senate President, Godswill Akpabio, has urged President Bola Tinubu to work towards reducing Nigeria’s debt profile.
He said this while delivering a welcome address during the President’s 2024 budget presentation to the joint session of the National Assembly on Wednesday, November 29.
“We also want to plead with the government to do all within its powers to reduce our high debt profile, which we inherited. The mark of a great leader is that he fixes the problems wherever they exist without complaint,” he said.
The ICIR reports that despite his call for a reduction in Nigeria’s debt profile, the National Assembly, under Akpabio’s leadership, approved Tinubu’s request to borrow $800 million from the World Bank to help cushion the effects of the removal of fuel subsidy in Nigeria in July.
Tinubu also recently transmitted a letter to the Senate on November 1, seeking approval for an $8 billion loan, which, according to him, would be utilised for projects across various sectors, including agriculture, health, education, and security.
In a report published on September 19, this organisation revealed how each Nigeria owed N396,376 as the nation’s debt stood at N87.4 trillion, according to data released by the National Bureau of Statistics.
The NBS published that the country’s total public debt jumped by 75.27 per cent from N49.85 trillion in the first quarter of 2023 to N87.38 trillion at the end of the second quarter of 2023. In monetary terms, this is an increase of N37.53 trillion in three months.
The ICIR calculated the debt stock per capita by dividing the total public debts of the country by its population. According to the World Poverty Clock, Nigeria’s population is estimated at 220.4 million.
In his address at the budget presentation on Wednesday, Akpabio expressed optimism that the proposed budget would address hardships being faced by Nigerians as a result of some economic reforms by the current administration.
“We hope these budgetary estimates contain provisions to ameliorate the sufferings that the economic measures so far have exerted on our fellow citizens whom we represent.
“Both chambers believe that we need to encourage the executive arm to unbundle some of the agencies in Nigeria for effectiveness, and even to merge some of them for government to reduce the weight of expenditure,” Akpabio said.
The Senate president also called for the prioritization of education and urged Nigerians to embrace agriculture to reduce dependence on imported food and crude oil.