Vice President Yemi Osinbajo at the weekend absolved the Muhammadu Buhari administration of responsibility in making Nigeria one of the most indebted nations in the world with its $73billion debt stock.
Osinbajo who spoke at the weekend at the 9th Public Lecture of the Sigma Club held at the International Conference Centre University of Ibadan, in Ibadan, Oyo State, said the administration inherited $63billion from its predecessor and only borrowed $10billion to raise the figue to $73 billion in its three and half years operation. The Vice President who delivered a lecture entitled ‘Developing the Nation Through Youth Empowerment’, stated that “In 2010 our debt was $35 billion, $41 billion in 2011, $48 billion in 2012, $64 billion in 2013, $67.7 billion in 2014, $63.8 billion in 2015, $57.8 billion in 2016, $70 billion in 2017 and $73 billion in 2018.
“The nation’s debt as at today is $73 bilłion, an increment of $10 billion from the $63 billion inherited in 2015.” He revealed that from oil, the nation earned $119.8 billion from 1990 to 1998, $481 billion from 1999 to 2009 and $381 billion from 2010 to 2014, while present administration has only earned $112 billion from June 2015.
“The earnings from oil from 2010 to 2014 were the highest recorded in the history of the country. This is a period when the price of oil per barrel sold from
$100 to $114. He said that the most important drain on the nation’s public purse was grand corruption, stressing that the nation would earn more revenue if corruption menace was addressed.
“In a 2015 transaction met by this administration, a sum of $67 million was made without a purpose for it. So also was another $292 million,” he said.
The Vice President also listed lack of commitment to diversification of the economy as one of the problems which affected the nation.
On restructuring, Osinbajo said that some of those clamouring for it were those who opposed the idea years back when they were in government.
“Let me explain my position clearly. I am not just an advocate of restructuring, there is no other government in Nigeria that has actively pursued restructuring such as we did when I was Attorney General in Lagos State.
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“People talking about restructuring, if you ask them what they meant by restructuring? They won’t even know what it means and that is the problem we have to face,” he said.
The vice president narrates how he pursued issues of restructuring to the Supreme Court when he was the Attorney General in Lagos State.
According to him, “We started with fiscal restructuring, which is more of resource control. Should states control their own resources? We went to the Supreme Court. They argued that each state should control its own resources.”
“The states that argued in favour of autonomy for states to control their resources were from the oil producing region of the country and Lagos State, while some others argued on the other side because they wanted to share oil money.
“We lost at the Supreme Court which said no, that you cannot control your resources. If you are an oil producing state, take 13 percent extra, which is derivation.”
He said that Lagos State further argued that it had ports and the ports served the entire nation, so the state should also take 13 percent derivation which the Supreme Court objected.