Ighomuaye Lucky, Benin
A Benin-based legal expert, Barr. Matthew Edaghese, on Monday, decried the rate at which the country borrows money from the World Bank and other financial institutions despite the stable price of crude oil in the international market.
He expressed his resentment while speaking to newsmen in Benin-City.
Edaghese said when President Muhammadu Buhari assumed office as the president of the country, he blamed his inability to deliver on his electioneering promises to Nigerians on the dwindling nature of the crude oil price in the international market.
He said Nigerians quite agreed and sympathized with him then, pointing out that now that the price has been high and stable, the country has been highly enmeshed in more borrowing while poverty stares Nigerians in the face.
“The issue of stable crude price has not robbed off on the economy positively as one would have expected.
“When you have more income coming into the economy, one would have expected it to translate to positive impact on the living standard of the people of Nigeria but that is not the case now.
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“President Muhammadu Buhari came in and had cause to complain profusely that he inherited an economy that is bedeviled with low crude oil price.
“Then suddenly, providence smiled on the Nigerian people and the price soared from $40 to $80 and it has been stabled at that range.
“But as we speak, we are borrowing more, in fact, the level of borrowing has become scandalous that even the IMF had cause to warn Nigerians that we are going to fall over the cliff. That our borrowing limit is almost exhausted”.
He said the Federal Government has a duty to explain to the Nigerian people on what the money accruing from the rising crude oil has been spent on.
“If we have more money coming into the economy through our major item of export, the crude, and this is the time the leadership choose to borrow like it has never been done in the Nigeria history, then, something is wrong somewhere.
“It has no economic explanation that will be acceptable to those who understand economics. You do not borrow more when you have more income with you.
“If you have no money, you borrow. If you are broke, that is when borrowing is important. You do not borrow when you are buoyant.
“One would not expect borrowing in a buoyant economy with the rising price of crude oil but explanations have not been offered by those managing our economy and why we are borrowing more at time when we are making more money from crude sales.
“And as we speak, salary payment is still a problem, infrastructural development is a mirage, if you go round the country, you will see decay infrastructure, roads have become dilapidated you have flooding.
“There is no intervention that is commensurate with the level of flood disaster.
“All you see is giving out blanket and mattresses and that is not how to respond to emergency. That is the situation we have found ourselves.
“We demand an explanations from those managing the economy on why we are suffering more when we are making more money from crude oil”, he said.