by Tony Akowe,
The Vice President elect, Prof. Yemi Osinbajo, on Wednesday disclosed that the incoming Muhammadu Buhari administration will be inheriting a whopping $60 billion as foreign and domestic debt from the Goodluck Jonathan administration.
Speaking at the opening of a two -day policy dialogue on the implementation of the agenda for change, Osinbajo also said current estimate revealed that about 110 million Nigerians are suffering from poverty.
He also lamented the state of the Nigerian economy, saying it was unfortunate that the nation has to spend 21 percent of its 2015 budget on debt servicing, while two- thirds of the states in the country cannot pay salaries due to dwindled resources.
He said: “We are concerned that our economy is currently in perhaps its worst moment in history. Local and international debt stands at $60 billion. Our debt servicing bill for 2015 is N953.6 billion, about 21 per cent of our Budget. On account of severely dwindled resources, over two-thirds of the states in Nigeria owe salaries. Federal institutions are not in much better shape. Today, the nation borrows to fund recurrent expenditure.
“The figures of extreme poverty in our society- 110 million by current estimates- makes it clear that our biggest national problem is the extreme poverty of the majority. Thus, no analysis is required to conclude that dealing with poverty and its implications is a priority.
“In the course of the election campaign, we ran an issues-based campaign that identified certain areas of public policy as high priorities for propelling Nigeria forward. We addressed the challenges of the economy, insecurity, corruption and jobs creation.
“We spoke on the challenge of providing opportunities for self-actualization to millions of our young people who face an uncertain future with understandable anxiety. We also addressed the challenge of providing for the most vulnerable segments of our population by equipping them with the tools to emerge from the crippling limitations of poverty to achieve dignified and productive citizenship.
“This is also against the backdrop of a highly unequal society in which, by some reckoning, the largest chunk of the benefits of our national wealth accrues to a small percentage of our population. Our manifesto offered a vision of shared prosperity and socio-economic inclusion for all Nigerians, that leaves no one behind in the pursuit of a prosperous and fulfilling life.
“Our goal this morning is to interrogate these positions and propositions before a wider audience and to launch a robust public conversation on policy directions and priorities that will help inform our administration’s approach in the next four years. This forum exemplifies the sort of consultative and consensual approach to policy-making that our party and the new administration intend to model in office.”