The Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) Governors Forum has expressed concern over the current debt profile of the country incurred by the Muhammadu Buhari-led All Progressives Congress (APC) federal government.
Put at N36 trillion, the governors lamented that the APC was gradually plunging Nigeria into bankruptcy with excessive borrowings, adding that over 80% of the appropriation is being spent on debt servicing.
In a communique issued after a meeting on Monday (yesterday) in Uyo, Akwa Ibom State, the Forum also blamed the Nigeria National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC) and other federal revenue-generating agencies on the lack of transparency and accountability in their declaration of revenue proceeds.
The communique read by Chairman of the Forum and governor of Sokoto State, Aminu Tambuwal, regretted that the lack of financial transparency by NNPC and other agencies has robbed state and local governments of the needed funds to provide employment and develop their territories.
Part of the communique read: “PDP governors frown at the rising and seemingly uncontrollable debt profile of Nigeria with over 80 percent of normal appropriation spent on debt servicing.
“All the gains of the PDP Government under Chief Olusegun Obasanjo, GCFR, where Nigeria exited its foreign debt obligations has been destroyed.
“Borrowing for frivolous items such as funding the Nigerian Television Authority is scandalous. Money should only be borrowed for productive purposes as Nigeria’s current debt of over N36 Trillion Naira is becoming clearly unsustainable relative to our earnings and GDP.
“We should not saddle incoming generations with undue debt burden. The borrowing spree of the APC administration, if unchecked, will certainly lead Nigeria into avoidable bankruptcy.”
The communique noted that the Forum examined operations of the Nigeria National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC), and expressed alarm at the opaque manner it carries out its operations.
“It decried the recent NNPC decision not to make its statutory contributions to the Federation Account, thereby starving states and local governments and indeed Nigerians of funds needed for employment, development, and general well-being.
“The meeting emphasised that under the Constitution, the NNPC is duty-bound to make proceeds of sale or business of Petroleum available to the Federation Account which belongs to the three tiers of government, excluding reasonable and verified and verifiable cost of operations.
“The Federal Government through NNPC is a manager of our oil wealth, merely as A TRUSTEE for all Nigerians. The meeting frowned at a situation where the NNPC decides in a totally discretionary and often whimsical manner, how much to spend, how to spend it, and how much to remit to the Federation Account, contrary to the letters and even the spirit of the 1999 Constitution.
“The meeting called on other agencies of Government such as Nigerian Ports Authority (NPA), Nigerian Maritime Administration and Safety Agency, NIMASA, Nigerian Communications Commission, NCC, Federal Inland Revenue Services, Customs and Excise and similar organisations that are statutorily required to make contributions into the Federation Account, to do more.
“The federating states should going forward now have a say in the determination of operating costs to ensure transparency and accountability.”
The PDP Governors also expressed deep concerns about the operational system and methods of the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN).
“It viewed with regrets that the CBN is operating as an independent government within a government, which is a perversion of the autonomy of the bank.
“A situation where CBN creates money, decides how much of it to spend, on what to spend it on without any form of controls or supervision is patently subversive of our constitutional order.”
The governors reiterated the call for a review of the revenue allocation formula and urged the Revenue Mobilization, Allocation, and Fiscal Commission to “urgently send the revised Revenue Allocation Formula to Mr. President for onward transmission to the National Assembly for enactment, such that more resources are made available to States and Local Governments where ordinary Nigerians reside.”
Those who attended the meeting include Aminu Waziri Tambuwal of Sokoto State(Chairman), Okezie Ikpeazu of Abia, Udom Emmanuel of Akwa Ibom, Senator Douye Diri( Bayelsa), Samuel Ortom(Benue), Dr. Ifeanyi Okowa(Delta), Ifeanyi Ugwuanyi (Enugu), Nyesom Wike (Rivers), Oluseyi Makinde (Oyo), Ahmadu Umaru Fintiri (Adamawa), Godwin Obaseki (Edo), Bala Mohammed (Bauchi), Arc Darius Ishaku (Taraba) and Deputy Governor Mahdi Mohd of Zamfara State.