Buhari regime will continue to borrow without subsidy removal: Femi Adesina
President Muhammadu Buhari’s regime and successive governments will continue to borrow foreign loans to service the nation without the removal of the contentious fuel subsidy, says his media aide Femi Adesina.
He added that Nigerians will still have to pay a price for suspended fuel subsidy removal because Mr Buhari regime may continue to incure more debt to run the country.
“Head or tail, Nigeria will have to pay a price,” he said. “It’s either we pay the price for the removal (fuel subsidy) in consonance and in conjunction with the understanding of the people, but if that will not come, the other cost is that borrowings may continue, and things may be difficult fiscally with both the states and the federal government,” said Mr Femi in an interview with Channels TV on Wednesday while speaking on Mr Buhari’s decision to suspend the removal of subsidy.
He added, “You know how much could have been saved if the subsidy was removed and how it could have been diverted to other areas and spheres of national life. But if you do not go that way now – and I agree that it may not be auspicious to go that way, then we have to pay a price.”
Nigeria’s foreign debt stood at $7.3 billion under ex-President Goodluck Jonathan. Under Mr Buhari, it has risen to $28.57 billion as of December 2020.
According to Nigerian Domestic and Foreign Debt Report, published last year by the National Bureau of Statistics (NBS), the country’s total public debt as of September 2020 stood at N32.2 trillion ($84.57 billion).
In November 2021, minister of finance, budget and national planning Zainab Ahmed said the regime would effect fuel subsidy removal by June 2022, adding that Nigerians would be supported with N5,000 transportation allowance to cushion the effect of subsidy removal.
However, amidst opposition and planned protest against removal of subsidy by Nigerian Labour Congress, Buhari-led regime announced the suspension of the decision for 18 months.
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