2022 budget: Reps fear economy collapse, say debt servicing too high


2022 budget: Reps economy collapse, say debt servicing too high

As the legislative on the 2022 budget, which was presented to the joint of by President Muhammadu last week continued on Wednesday, members of the House of Representatives expressed concerns over the high rate of debt servicing.

While each lawmaker took turns to speak on the highlight of the budget which stood at N16.39 trillion, they maintained that the budgetary provision for debt servicing was 25 per cent of the entire budget, saying it was on the high side.

Those who spoke extensively on the worrisome debt servicing was the Chairman of the House on Judiciary, Hon. Luke Onofiok who observed that the sum of N3.9 trillion for debt servicing representing about 25 of the whole budget was worrisome.

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He for a downward review, stating that Nigeria was too fragile to service debts at that high rate, given that the nation was still facing the COVID-19 challenges.

On the external and internal borrowing to service budget deficits, he posited: “Another source of concern is that the proposal before us has a deficit of N6.2 trillion and the government is proposing new borrowings to finance this deficit.

“What this implies is that the total public debt of Nigeria is expected to rise to N5 trillion in 2022 fiscal . This is worrisome not only for today but generations unborn and the future of Nigeria.”

He on lawmakers to reduce the borrowing or the executive should assure the parliamentarians that the borrowing was production and not consumption.

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He argued that it would be inappropriate to borrow and leave debt for generations yet unborn, stressing that if it’s into production with expected income, there won’t be any concern.

The lawmaker for deliberate funding of power and infrastructure, saying: “While we the money borrowed to infrastructure three clear things come to mind. We have looked at . We need to invest in power. Let us borrow to invest in power and roads. We have road challenges across the country. Let me use for instance Mr. Speaker, the Calabar-Itu road that is being cut-off.

“People spend 8 hours on the road. And we have seen something less than a billion naira allotted to that road in the different lots that have been given. That is quite inadequate. We have to invest in our roads and in our public transportation.”

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House Minority leader, Ndudi Elumelu, spoke on the high rate of debt servicing, noting that the nation can’t afford such at this time.

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