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FG moved from borrowing to pay salaries to inability to service debt – Chidoka

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A FORMER Minister of Aviation, Osita Chidoka, laments that Nigeria has moved from borrowing to pay salaries to inability to service debt, a situation he regards as portraying economic distress for the country.

Chidoka, who spoke in a monitored broadcast today in Abuja, said the country had been so badly managed economically that it had led to its inability to generate sufficient revenues and service its debts.


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He said, “The Nigerian state is weakened because it lacks resources despite being enormousy blessed. The government is struggling to meet the salary obligations of its workers at a time when it is also struggling to service its debts.”

As if to validate Chidoka’s concerns, Nigeria’s fiscal position worsened in the first four months of the year as the cost of repaying debts surpassed government’s revenue in the first quarter of 2022.

According to details of the 2022 fiscal performance report for January through April, Nigeria’s total revenue stood at N1.63 trillion, while debt servicing stood at N1.94 trillion, showing a variance of over N300 billion.

Nigeria’s Minister of Finance, Budget and National Planning, Zainab Ahmed, warned that urgent action was needed to address the nation’s revenue challenge and expenditure efficiency at both the national and sub-national levels.

The report showed that gross oil and gas federation revenue for the first four months of the year was projected at N3.12 trillion. But as at April 30, only N1.23 trillion was realised, representing a mere 39 per cent performance.

Chidoka, who also spoke on poor oversight by the legislatures, said that members of the National Assembly woke up late to their responsibility, their impeachment threat to the President nevertheless.

“I think they are just waking up to their responsibility. We have far more serious behaviour by this government that requires more serious oversight and sanctions, if the National Assembly has performed its proper oversight.

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“It is interesting that in a country like this that an Accountant-General – the keeper of the resources of the federation – was accused of diverting the sum of N109 billion by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC).

“Now, what is even difficult about this is the fact that N15 billion of these monies is what he got as bribes, to be able to release monies due to states. This was the allegation by the EFCC.

“I don’t want to believe that the Accountant-General, who is under the supervision of the Minister of Finance, could have
sat in that office and diverted N84 billion of Federal resources, and nobody is holding anybody responsible.

“This is an act that no country in the world would condone without massive resignation,” Chidoka said.

 

Author profile

Harrison Edeh is a journalist with the International Centre for Investigative Reporting, always determined to drive advocacy for good governance through holding public officials and businesses accountable.

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