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Your position on Nigeria’s debt profile erroneous, government tells Atiku

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•Insists loans going for infrastructure financing

The Federal Government has said the ‘apocalyptic’ scenario painted by former Vice President Atiku Abubakar on the nation’s debt profile was nothing but “scaremongering anchored on a false premise.”

In a statement yesterday in Abuja, Minister of Information and Culture, Lai Mohammed, pointed out that the debt to revenue ratio of 99 per cent in the first quarter of 2020 allegedly cited by the Wazirin Adamawa was not in the Medium Term Expenditure Framework (MTEF) and Fiscal Strategy Paper (FSP) that were referenced.

“We are also not able to ascertain the source of the first quarter figures of N943.12 billion for debt servicing and N950.56 billion for retained revenue, which he also quoted,” the minister added.

Mohammed clarified that the debt servicing provisions in the yearly budgets include principal repayments, interest payments and all other applicable charges, adding that the statement that debt servicing does not equate to debt repayment was not only wrong, but ill-informed.

He continued: “While the Federal Government welcomes constructive criticism, such must be based on verifiable facts rather than conjectures and innuendos. There is no doubt that former Vice President Atiku Abubakar loves our country and wishes it well, otherwise he would not have sustained his serial quest for the country’s highest position. One can only hope that his resort to the use of such words as ‘precipice’, ‘foreclosure’ and ‘economic ruin’ does not reflect anything but best wishes for the country at this time.”

Mohammed argued that unlike what obtained in the past when the nation borrowed to service the “crass indulgence of a few fat cats”, the loans being obtained by the current administration “are being primarily used to finance infrastructure, which include roads, railways, bridges and power, and the loans are long-term in nature, which would benefit present and future generations.”

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