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Sign electoral bill to rescue Nigeria, PDP urges Buhari

By Ahmadu Baba Idris (Birnin Kebbi) and Silver Nwokoro (Lagos)
20 December 2021   |   3:04 am
Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), Kebbi State chapter, has urged President Muhammadu Buhari not to frustrate the passage of the Electoral Bill.

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SERAP wants the president to seek a moratorium on borrowing $5.8b

Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), Kebbi State chapter, has urged President Muhammadu Buhari not to frustrate the passage of the Electoral Bill.

Speaking to journalists in Birnin Kebbi, state chairman, Ibrahim Usman Manzu, who spoke through the party’s Treasurer, Haruna Mohammed Shau, said the President’s approval is the only way to save Nigeria’s democracy and restore its sanity.

He said: “Direct primary is the solution to our election. It will fish out fake politicians. Senators have done tremendous work by deliberating on the bill. Now, the remaining work is for the President to give his assent.”

He expressed disappointment with the All Progressives Congress (APC) administration in the state and the country. He lamented the poor state of the economy and urged Nigerians not to vote APC in the forthcoming general election.

“I have a strong belief that Nigerians will not vote APC again due to the condition the people have found themselves. Poverty has increased. Buhari has tried, but the governors and ministers are the brains behind the situation; they are busy siphoning our money and enriching themselves and their families,” he alleged.

Meanwhile, Socio-Economic Rights and Accountability Project (SERAP) has urged Buhari to issue an immediate moratorium on borrowing by the Federal Government and the 36 states to address a systemic debt crisis, prevent retrogressive economic measures, and the disproportionately negative impact of unsustainable debt on poor Nigerians.

The request followed recent approval by the National Assembly of Buhari’s request for a $5.8 billion loan and grant of $10 billion. Previous approvals in 2021 alone include $8.3 billion; €490 million, and $6.1billion.

The foreign debt stock of the Federal Government, 36 states, and Federal Capital Territory reportedly stands at $37.9 billion.

In an open letter dated December 18, 2021, and signed by SERAP’s Deputy Director, Kolawole Oluwadare, the organisation said: “A moratorium on borrowing would create a temporary debt standstill and free up fiscal space for investment in Nigerians’ needs, as well as ensure sustainable economic and social recovery from the COVID-19 pandemic.

“Without a moratorium on borrowing, your government and many of the 36 states may be caught in a process-driven mostly by creditors’ needs. This will result in an exorbitant social cost for the marginalised and vulnerable sectors of the population.”

According to SERAP, long-term unsustainable debt can be a barrier to the government’s ability to mobilise resources for human rights and may lead to taxes and user fees that impact negatively on vulnerable and marginalised Nigerians.

SERAP stressed that while the National Assembly has asked for these details in future loan requests, it ought to have seen and assessed the terms and conditions of these loans before approving them, in line with its oversight responsibility under the Nigerian Constitution of 1999 (as amended).

“If not urgently addressed, the escalating borrowing and looming debt crisis would cripple the ability of both the Federal Government and the 36 states to deliver essential public services such as quality healthcare, education, and clean water to the most vulnerable and marginalised sectors of the population,” the body said.

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