From Romanus Ugwu, Abuja
The Director-General of the All Progressives Congress (APC) Progressive Governors Forum (PGF), Dr Salihu Moh Lukman, has claimed that the President Muhammadu Buhari-led government is far more prudent than all Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) governments between 1999 and 2015 put together.
Reacting to the criticisms trailing the recent loan request President Buhari sent to the National Assembly, Lukman in the statement he issued in Abuja on Wednesday, he urged the opposition to stop politicising the foreign borrowing by the federal government.
The PGF DG equally challenged the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) to do everything possible to stabilise the free fall of Nigeria currency, describing as unacceptable, the situation where US Dollar appears to be on a roller-coaster against the Naira.
“Notwithstanding all these and ignoring all the years of lost opportunities under 16 years of PDP, public debates around comparative assessments of performance of six years of APC government under President Buhari as compared to 16 years of PDP get unfairly dominated by allegations of recklessness and incompetence.
“PDP may wish to go beyond the manipulative strategy to rewrite the realities of incomparable achievements of President Buhari-led APC government as against all the PDP administrations between 1999 and 2015 by coming out with a clearer empirical account than can present new evidence. Otherwise, the incontrovertible evidence is that APC-led government of President Buhari is in fact more prudent than all PDP governments between 1999 and 2015,” he argued.
Lukman however blamed government agencies for not doing enough to defend the achievements of the federal government, emphasising: “One of the issues that need to also be appreciated is that to some extent, the confidence of PDP leaders tends to be high in engaging debates around the performance of the economy because of the laid-back attitude of some appointees of federal government who should have been very proactive in directing public debates in the country.
“Many PDP leaders and their supporters are emboldened by the weak responses of designated public officers in federal government saddled with the responsibilities of engaging Nigerians around initiatives of government. The other challenge, which is very disturbing, is the issues around management of Nigeria’s foreign exchange by the Central Bank of Nigeria,” he noted in the statement.
Challenging the CBN, Lukman wrote: “A situation whereby the US Dollar would appear to be on a roller-coaster against the Naira is simply unacceptable. Had the Naira to US Dollar exchange rate been stable in the last two years, most of the alleged debates about so-called recklessness against the government of President Buhari would have been long settled.
“Therefore, while appealing to the CBN to take every measure necessary urgently and expeditiously to stabilise the Naira exchange rate, similar appeal must also be made to all functionaries of the federal government, especially in ministries of Finance and National Planning to provide all the intellectual leadership required to convert the false accusation that APC led government of Buhari is recklessly borrowing.
“Nigeria’s borrowing, both with reference to debt/GDP and debt/revenue ratio is still below the permissible economic threshold of below 60 per cent and 46 per cent respectively. If economic indices are the reference point in any comparative assessment of performance President Buhari led administration as compared to all the PDP administrations between 1999 and 2016, PDP leaders and their supporters cannot have any voice!” PGF DG quipped in the statement.