APBN cautions FG on borrowing

•Decries huge chunk of annual budget spent on debt servicing

The Association of Professional Bodies of Nigeria (APBN) has advised the federal government on the need to exercise restraint on the further accumulation of debts; since such borrowings have begun to take their tolls on the nation’s economy.

Making the plea in his address at the association’s Annual General Meeting held, in Lagos, on Tuesday, its president, Surveyor Akinloye Oyegbola, argued that while borrowing could be desirable, especially if used to fund infrastructure; he, however, noted that it would not be in the best interest of the country when a huge chunk of the nation’s resources are being used to service such debts, as it is being presently done.

He decried a situation where the country spent a sum of N1.02 trillion on domestic and foreign debt servicing in the first quarter of 2021, thereby leaving little or nothing for capital expenditure.

“Recent data shows that Nigeria’s external debt is approaching $45billion. The Board resolved that if the loans are for infrastructure, then they will pay out themselves. We however call for caution as data has also shown that the country is spending a huge chunk of its annual budget on debt servicing.

“The Nigerian government spends a sum of N1.02trillion on domestic and foreign debt service in the first quarter of 2021, representing a 35.7 per cent year-on-year increase to N753.7billion spent in the corresponding period of 2020,” he added.

While commending the federal government on the gradual recovery of the nation’s economy, as evident in the drop in inflation rate to 17.01 per cent in August 2021, the association however appealed to the federal government to come up with effective policies that would save the value of the nation’s currency, the naira, from further decline.

“We are concerned about the free fall of the naira, against the dollar, in recent times. While we are aware that the government, through the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) is doing its best to get the naira stable, we see still the condition of the naira today as worrisome,” he added.

Surveyor Oyegbola also charged the federal government and the sub-nationals to quickly resolve the ongoing controversies surrounding the issue of VAT, warning that if allowed to linger, it could result in a crisis, which would further depress the nation’s economy.

He also used the opportunity to appeal to the national and sub-national governments in the country, on the need to avail themselves of the services of the nation’s professionals, noting that despite such appeals in the past, governments had not been making enough use of the indigenous professionals.

“The Board will, therefore, like to use this opportunity to call on those in government to begin to look inwards. For instance, APBN boasts of an array of qualified professionals that can rub shoulders with their peers anywhere in the world, and we are ready for national assignments,” Oyegbola stated.

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APBN cautions FG on borrowing

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