Jonathan's Borrowings Landed Us in Recession - Presidency
The Presidency has lamented how huge debts accumulated by the previous administration landed Nigeria where it was before it exited from the Paris Club debt.
President Muhammadu Buhari’s Senior Special Assistant on Media and Publicity, Garba Shehu, stated this in an article titled “What is President Buhari doing with the Economy?”, made available to reporters in Abuja yesterday.
He said the previous government of President Goodluck Jonathan borrowed heavily, and ended up owing contractors and international oil companies.
“The previous government was borrowing heavily and owed contractors, and international oil companies.
“When this government took over we had accumulated debt back to the level it was before the Paris Club Debt Forgiveness,” Shehu stressed.
He said this was one of the major problems that has brought the country’s economy to the position of recession it is presently, although government was taking proactive measures to remedy the situation.
The presidential spokesman argued that instead of blaming Buhari for the pains that Nigerians are currently passing through, critics should focus their blame in the right direction.
Shehu added that despite the huge borrowings, government in the last 10 years did not invest in critical infrastructure that would assist in sustaining the economy even with the downturn in global prices of crude oil today.
“Government simply reticulated oil revenue through personal spending by corrupt leaders, wasteful expenses and salaries. This was done rather than investing in what would grow the economy.
“Economies grow due to capital investment in assets like seaports, airports, power plants, railways, roads and housing. Nigeria has not recorded a single major infrastructural project in the last 10 years. In short the money was mismanaged.
“All these factors were building up to Nigeria heading for a major crisis if the price of oil fell. Nigeria did not have fiscal buffers to withstand an oil shock,” he stated.
He was of the view that in order to correct the wrong, the present administration was working to increase spending on capital projects especially on infrastructure that is required to make Nigerian businesses competitive and create jobs.
Besides, the Federal Government is also blocking leakages that allowed government revenues to be siphoned into private hands, he pointed out.
“Currently, there is focus on key sectors (apart from oil) that can create jobs and or generate revenue such as Agriculture, Solid Minerals and Manufacturing.
“If these things had been done when the oil price was as high as US$140 per barrel, Nigeria would not be in the current predicament.
“We would not be suffering now if we had no cash reserves but we had regular supply of power, a good rail system, good roads and good housing.
“Now, that the oil has fallen as low as US$28 per barrel, it is very difficult to do what is needed but they must be done to save Nigeria. There is no other way if we want to be honest,” Shehu stressed.
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