‘Stop spreading falsehood’ – Lai Mohammed tackles Atiku over comment on Nigeria’s debt profile/ Lai Mohammed

The Minister of Information and Culture, Lai Mohammed, has tackled erstwhile Vice-President Atiku Abubakar over his recent comment on the country’s debt profile.

NVS had on Tuesday reported how Atiku, in an article, expressed concerns over the ceaseless loans taken by the President Muhammadu Buhari-led administration.

Quoting the Medium Term Expenditure Framework (MTEF) and Fiscal Strategy Paper (FSP), Atiku had claimed Nigeria’s debt to revenue ratio was 99% in the first quarter of 2020.

He had consequently warned that the trend, if left unchecked, could jeopardise future generations.

But reacting to his claim on Wednesday, the Minister accused the former Vice-President of spreading falsehood, arguing that the debt to revenue ratio as quoted by Atiku is not in the MTEF and FSP documents.

His words: “There is no doubt that former Vice President Atiku Abubakar loves our country and wishes it well, otherwise he would not have sustained his serial quest for the country’s highest position.

“One can only hope that his resort to the use of such words as ‘precipice’, ‘foreclosure’ and ‘economic ruin’ does not reflect anything but best wishes for the country at this time.

“We are also not able to ascertain the source of the first quarter figures of N943.12 billion for debt servicing and N950.56 billion for retained revenue, which he also quoted.

“One of the reasons why debt service to revenue is high is because revenue generation in Nigeria has been low, with over-dependence on the oil sector.

“This is corroborated by the fact that the ratio of Nigeria’s tax revenue to GDP is one of the lowest in the world at about 6%.

“We have said that in the face of massive infrastructural decay, no responsible government will sit by and do nothing,” he said.

“The loans for the educational sector will contribute to the development of our human capital while the loans for the agricultural sector will help the move to diversify the economy.”