There have been times in the course of Nigeria’s journey as a democratic country where it has appeared to be a country running on fumes. These appearances have been given impetus by just how bad things have got in the country from time to time. This has often been most manifest in the level of hardship in the country almost at every point in time.
In the last seven years under the administration of President Muhammadu Buhari of the All Progressives Congress, the sense of loss has been unmistakable. Lost livelihoods, lost earnings, lost lives and lost opportunities. As a man who won historic elections has flattered to deceive as president, hardship has sunk its teeth deeper into Nigerians, drawing blood.
As poverty has spread like wildfire providing the perfect breeding ground for insecurity, the extent to which a succession of leadership in Nigeria has yielded nothing but failures has become increasingly clear.
These failures have proven costly. Nigeria is a poorly managed country. It has been this poorly managed for a long time. The poor management has yielded a country that has been careless with its money.
Corruption has been a massive factor. But corruption has itself been fortified by mismanagement. Thus,a country that has left its finances in the hands of the corruptly clueless for far too long must now count the cost.
A mountain to climb
As Nigeria has struggled to have an economy vibrant enough to keep the worst economic fears of its over 200 million plus citizens at bay, borrowing has emerged as a most worrisome and embarrassing national habit.
A country that borrows and borrows again to fund its expensive lifestyle amply demonstrated by its recurrent expenditure was always going to run into trouble. It appears it finally has.
According to Nigeria’s Debt Management Office, the administration of President Muhammadu Buhari which is counting days to leave office is set to leave a humongous debt of about 77 trillion naira hanging on the neck of the country.
According to the Debt Management Office, the debt will be made up of N44.06 trillion total debt stock of the third quarter of 2022,N22.7 trillion Ways and Means borrowed from the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) projected new borrowings of 10.58 captured in the 2023 budget and the issuance of promissory notes.
The administration has often been harshly criticized for its borrowing.The frustration many Nigerians nurse about the itchy inclination of successive administrations to borrow almost compulsively is that there is hardly anything to show for it.
Such obsessive borrowing has fetched Nigeria the international ignominy of being ranked the fourth most indebted country in the world by the International Development Association.
Nigeria has had to share the borrowers’ podium with similarly troubled countries like India, Bangladesh, Pakistan, Ethiopia, Vietnam, Ghana among others.
By every measure, Nigeria is a country running on financial fumes. By the dictates of Nigeria’s fledgling democracy, a change of guard beckons in the corridors of power by May,2023.
This debt, outrageous by any measure, and steadily casting Nigeria as a figure of fun, would surely prove to be an albatross for an incoming administration.
Any incoming administration would have to grapple with serving Nigerians while servicing mountainous debts. This would surely prove to be a nightmare.
If the alarm bells toll continuously on this, it is because Nigeria cannot continue on this perilous path of ever rising debts and indiscriminate indebtedness.
A country of 133 million poor can never hope to decimate that scandalous figure if the best it can routinely come up with is ingenious and imaginative borrowing.