In a bold statement made on Sunday, President Bola Tinubu declared that his administration would break away from the damaging practice of servicing external debt using Nigeria’s limited revenue. The announcement was made during the opening of the Nigerian Bar Association’s annual conference at the MKO Abiola Stadium in Abuja. While not directly mentioning former President Muhammadu Buhari, Tinubu’s comments seemed to allude to the previous administration’s strategy of using revenue to pay off external loans.
“Can we continue to service external debts with 90% of our revenue?” questioned President Tinubu, highlighting the unsustainable nature of the approach. He emphasized that such a path would lead to destruction rather than progress. “We must make the very difficult changes that are necessary for our country to get up from slumber and be respected among the great nations of the world,” he asserted, underlining the need for crucial reforms.
President Tinubu defended the ongoing reforms his government was undertaking, stating that they were essential for the nation’s growth. He acknowledged that these changes might bring short-term challenges but believed they were vital for Nigeria’s long-term prosperity. He reminded the audience that their efforts weren’t just for themselves, but for future generations.
“It is not about you, and it is not about me. It is about our generations yet unborn, for whom we must bequeath a great and prosperous country,” President Tinubu affirmed, underscoring the responsibility to build a better nation for the future.
Notably, former President Muhammadu Buhari’s eight-year tenure, spanning from 2015 to 2023, was characterized by a significant increase in borrowing. Critics often labeled these years as challenging for democratic governance. During Buhari’s time in office, Nigeria’s debt burden surged to a staggering N46 trillion, as reported by the Debt Management Office. Buhari justified these borrowings by claiming they were necessary for infrastructural development.
Former President Olusegun Obasanjo, who managed to clear Nigeria’s debt during his tenure, expressed concerns over the rampant borrowing under Buhari’s leadership. Obasanjo criticized the accumulation of debt for future generations, branding it as “foolish” and “criminal.”
President Tinubu’s strong stance against the debt-servicing approach, coupled with his commitment to bring about essential reforms, indicates a potential shift in Nigeria’s economic trajectory. As the nation watches closely, the unfolding actions of his administration are likely to shape Nigeria’s financial landscape for years to come.