GOVERNORS elected on the ticket of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) on Monday in Uyo, the Akwa Ibom State capital expressed worry over the rising debt profile of the country, describing the coun- try’s N33 trillion debt profile unsustainable.
Besides, the governors pointed out that the operations of the Nigeria National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC) and the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) were not in tandem with the due process of financial management and accountability as enshrined in the 1999 constitution, as amended.
According to them, NNPC’s failure to remit its statutory contributions to the federation account has crippled states and rendered them incapacitated to address their challenges of development. In a communique at the end of a meeting hosted by Governor Udom Emmanuel, the governors who once again reviewed the state of the nation maintained that monies should only be borrowed for productive purposes.
In the communique read by their chairman and governor of Sokoto State, Aminu Tambuwal, the PDP governors “frowned at the rising and seemingly uncontrollable debt profile of Nigeria with over 80% 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(NTA), 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 said. They expressed alarm over the running of the NNPC by the Federal Government and the continuous non remittance of their statutory contribution by other Federal agencies to the Federal Government.
“The Forum examined the operations of the Nigeria National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC), and expressed alarm at the manner it carries out its operations.
“It decried the recent NNPCs decision not to make its statutory contributions to the Federation Account, thereby starving the states and Local Governments and indeed Nigerians of funds needed for employment, development and general well being.
“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,” it said.
In the same vein, the forum of the PDP governors expressed deep concern over the operational system and methods of the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN), regretting that the apex bank has continued to operate like a “government within a government.
“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.
“It has become not just a Leviathan, but also a father Christmas of sorts, dabbling into every sphere and scope of governmental activity, not just as a lender of last resort, but as a full executing agency of government.
“The meeting observed that the CBN has become such an octopus that it threatens state governments publicly, without decorum, about sanctions on any attempt to question its modus operandi”, the forum stressed.
It further reviewed the emerging threats to the country’s democracy, constitutionalism and rule of law and cautioned the FG to exercise power with restraint. On the suspension of Twitter from operating in Nigeria, the governors condemned the personalized reasons given for the action by the Presidency and urged the federal government to review its decision for national interest.
“The mere ego of Mr President is not enough for such a drastic action that deprives millions of Nigerians of such an affordable means of expression and communication. We hope that this is not a harbinger or early warning signs of descent into dictatorship.
“The meeting noted that social media regulation can only be done within the exist- ing laws on the subject and should not be used as an at- tempt to punish or gag Nigerians from enjoying constitutionally guaranteed rights.
“Nigerian youths do not have adequate access to employment and a lot of Nigerians rely on TWITTER for their livelihood, businesses and self-employment.
“This will further worsen Nigeria’s 33% unemployment rate which is the high- est in the world, improve Nigeria’s ranking as the country with second highest poverty rate in the entire world, all of which happened under APC’s unfortunate stewardship,” the forum stressed.
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