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JUST IN:‘Kuku’ borrow the whole 2023 budget

The former Minister of Education, Oby Ezekwesili, made a brief, but scathing comment about the booby-trap 2023 budget shortly after her former boss, former President Olusegun Obasanjo, gave a scathing assessment of the disastrous performance of the regime of Major General Muhammadu Buhari (retd).

Obasanjo urged young Nigerians, who account for approximately 65% of registered voters, to seize power in politics and reclaim the country from its previous tyrants. He finally declared his support for Labour Party candidate Peter Obi for president in a more explicit and public manner.

The words of Ezekwesili are as follows: The hopeless budget that the President, Major General Muhammadu Buhari [ret.] adopted by law: The total amount spent is N21.83 trillion, and the total amount earned is N10.49 trillion. In other words, only the average John Doe on any street or town in Nigeria can save the country from the oppression of incompetent leaders who justify the so-called project-tied loans with the inadequate infrastructure and social services they provide for the people. You all better get your permanent voter cards ready because…”

Everyone is aware that the loans are taken out by the government to feed the big government’s appetite, which they run for their own benefit. Since 2013, both the amount borrowed and the amount spent paying off loans have typically exceeded the budget!

Nigerians have massively entered the “gbese,” or debt abyss, with a budget for 2023 that is based on a misleading N435.57 exchange rate to the American dollar (more than N700 in the parallel market), N6.3 trillion for debt servicing, N4.99 trillion for personal emoluments and other overheads, and only N4.99 trillion for capital projects!

You might be tempted to ask them to “kuku” borrow the entire budget when you consider the N11.34 trillion deficit that the Minister of Finance, Budget, and National Planning, Zainab Ahmed, and her team embedded into the 2023 budget—up from the N8.7 trillion deficit that was previously projected.

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After that, everyone will be aware that Nigeria is a nation that has been in debt for a long time. It enjoys borrowing money to pay for its large government, and it tends to spend more on overhead costs than on assets that generate long-term revenue.

Because they are not expected to use their brains while pretending to run the country, the lazy drones who run all levels and agencies of Nigeria’s government can just snore away their time on the job. As a result, Nigeria can legitimately operate on debt.

You wouldn’t have been to blame if you had changed American President Abraham Lincoln’s definition of democracy to “government of the debtors, by the debtors, for the debtors” for this purpose.

Those who are familiar with the Yoruba language are aware that when someone asks you to “kuku” do something, it indicates that they have given up and have no interest in what you do next. You have been stripped of their hands.

The administration of retired Major General Muhammadu Buhari is full of people who have no idea what they’re talking about. It must be due to the fact that the President does not always act as a leader.

Buhari kicks the can down the road for the next government by not taking decisive action to end crude oil theft, fuel subsidy, and the importation of petroleum products.

He provided a fuel subsidy of N3.36 trillion that would end in June 2023, despite the budget’s estimate of N192 trillion in crude oil revenue. Can you perceive what thoughtful minds are observing?

In order to conceal their inability to end the fuel subsidy, Buhari or his aides have used the rationalization that it might cause social upheavals, such as sending some workers into the unemployment market, and raise the cost of consumer goods.

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That’s the explanation you’d expect from a government that only considers one aspect of economic policy. As you are aware, a subsidy is just one of many economic policies that a government that is willing to solve economic problems for the majority of people can implement.

So be it for the new sheriff, who arrived in town on a white Charger and wore shining armor and said he would fix almost everything wrong with Nigerian politics.

The fact that he neither comprehends nor possesses solutions to the issues at hand comes to mind every time one considers his miserable failure. He seems to think that providing infrastructure is the end of governance.

Non-agerian Afe Babalola, who believes that the 1999 Constitution will not help Nigeria grow, is offering (perhaps in jest) to rally Nigerian billionaires and trillionaires to contribute to defraying the N42.84 trillion debt that the Buhari regime has accumulated for generations of unborn children. Buhari’s preferred option of running the nation on debt fuel is becoming increasingly unsettling.

That is one strategy for avoiding a significant portion of the N6.55 trillion that the President acknowledges will be spent on debt servicing in the budget for 2023. Additionally, if members of the incoming administration are also wasteful, they will use the Babalola collective’s rescue plan to cover their own debts.

Recently, Zainab disclosed that debt servicing consumed N5.24 trillion, or 80.6% of the N6.5 trillion in revenue that the Federal Government will receive in 2022. This is significantly higher than the World Bank’s recommendation of 22.5% for low-income nations like Nigeria.

It is important to note that Buhari is doing everything in his power to persuade the National Assembly to convert the N23.7 trillion short-term ways and means debt that his government took away from the Central Bank of Nigeria into a loan with a 40-year term.

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He argues that the government will have to provide an additional N1.8 trillion for debt servicing in 2013 if the NASS agrees with him and approves the conversion. In addition to the N6.55 trillion already allocated in the budget, this will be a separate transaction.

The Debt Management Office has openly acknowledged that the total public debt will total N77 trillion if you add this N23.7 trillion and other debts to the N42.84 trillion already publicly declared as owed.

“Considering reports that the next administration may inherit a total public debt stock of approximately N77tn, the estimated figure can be expected only if the ways and means advances from the CBN are securitized,” is how Patience Oniha, the Debt Management Office’s Director General, puts it.

Nigeria is operating at full speed with loans, as evidenced by the ways and means loan owed to the CBN, the other domestic loans, and the foreign loans. The NASS ought to go even further and legislate that loans should be used to finance Nigeria’s budgets.

The NASS should even insist that debts be used to fund budget inflows, and that outflows should be made after debt servicing and big government maintenance have been met. As a result, budget preparers won’t have to conceal their plans to run Nigeria on loans.

It is evident that the Bible’s instruction that believers should not lend or borrow money does not apply to those who manage Nigeria’s budget process. They’ve been playing the debt game for so long that they now believe it’s commonplace.

Nigeria’s loan binge appears to be a veritable exercise in taking good money and throwing it into the ocean, despite the fact that accountants and finance experts describe loans as leverage if they will contribute to increased income.

These wasteful times must soon come to an end.

Lekan Sote

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