• Says nation debt profile unsustainable

Senator Shehu Sani on Friday offered insight into why the 8th Senate under the leadership of Senator Bukola Saraki denied legislative approval for a $30 billion external loan for President Muhammadu Buhari in his first tenure.

President Buhari in a letter ”Request for the National Assembly to reconsider and approve the federal government’s 2016-2018 external borrowing plan’, addressed to President of the 9th Senate, Ahmad Lawan hinted that he was merely resubmitting a similar request sent to the 8th National Assembly for their approval which was however shut down under the leadership of Senator Bukola Saraki and Yakubu Dogara, immediate past Senate President and Speaker of the House of Representatives, respectively.

But Senator Sani who incidentally was chairman Senate committee on Local and Foreign Debt in the 8th Senate, in a statement he personally signed and made available to newsmen in Abuja said the Senate opposition to President Buhari’s request for the loan was informed by grave concern for the nation rising debt profile which he noted was not sustainable.

Senator Sani submitted that the country external debt could have escalated to $52 Billion if it was approved by the 8th National Assembly.

His statement read in part:” We turned down the Federal Government loan request for $30 Billion to save Nigeria from sinking into the dark gully of a perpetual debt trap. We don’t want our country to be recolonised by creditor banks.

”Our external debt in 2015 was $10.32 Billion and it escalated to $22.08 in the second quarter of this year, which is 114 per cent. If we had approved that loan request, our external debt could have catapulted to over $52 Billion and that is not sustainable.

”With the current escalation of borrowing, we will be walking into debt Slavery and move from landlords to tenants in our country. They will always tell you that even America is borrowing and I don’t know how rational is it to keep on borrowing because another country is borrowing.

If we keep listening to bankers and contractors, we will keep borrowing and burying ourselves and leave behind for our children a legacy of the debt burden.

”Loans are not charities. Most of those encouraging more borrowing are parasitic consultants, Commission agents, rent-seeking fronts and contractors.

We must be cautious. ”

Local Content and Sustainable Development in Global Energy Markets (Cambridge University Press, January, 2021) By Professor Damilola S. Olawuyi, SAN, FCIArb, Professor of Law and Deputy Vice-Chancellor, Afe Babalola University, Ado Ekiti For more information or to pre-order your copies, please contact: Mr. Keji Kolawole: info@ogeesinstitute.edu.ng; Twitter: @dsolawuyi, Tel: +234 81 40000 988

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