By Bassey Anthony, Uyo
The Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) Governors Forum Monday raised the alarm over the current debt profile of the country put at N36 Trillion incurred by the All Progressives Congress (APC)-led federal government.
The forum expressed worry that the federal government was gradually plunging Nigeria into bankruptcy with it’s excessive borrowings on frivolous items, adding that over 80% of the normal Appropriation is being spent on debt servicing.
In a communique issued after a meeting of the Forum in Uyo, Akwa Ibom state, the PDP governors said also accused the Nigeria National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC) and other revenues generating agencies of the federal government of lack of transparency and accountability in the declaration of revenue proceeds.
The communique read by the Chairman of the Forum and governor of sokoto state, Aminu Tambuwal complained that the lack of financial transparency by the NNPC and other agencies has robbed state and local governments of the needed funds to provide employment and develop their territories.
The communique reads in part, ”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 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 further said, ”The Forum examined the operations of the Nigeria National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC), and expressed alarm at the OPAQUE 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 wellbeing.
”The meeting emphasised that under the Constitution, the NNPC is duty bound to make proceeds of sale or business of Petroleum available to the Federation Account which belongs to the three tiers of government, excluding reasonable and verified and verifiable cost of operations.
”The Federal government through NNPC is a manager of our oil wealth merely as A TRUSTEE for all Nigerians. 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.
”The meeting called on other agencies of Government such as Nigerian Ports Authority (NPA), Nigerian Maritime Administration and Safety Agency (NIMASA), Nigerian Communication Commission (NCC), Federal Inland Revenue Services, Customs and Excise and similar organisations that are statutorily required to make contributions into the Federation Account, to do more. The federating States should, going forward now have a say in the determination of operating costs to ensure transparency and accountability.”
The PDP Governors also expressed deep concerns on the operational system and methods of the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN).
”It viewed with regrets that the CBN is operating as an independent government within a Government, which is a pervasion of the autonomy of the Bank.
”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.”
The governors reiterated the call for a review of the revenue allocation formula and urged the Revenue Mobilization, Allocation and Fiscal Commission to ”urgently send the revised Revenue Allocation Formula to Mr President for onward transmission to the National Assembly for enactment, such that more resources are made available to States and Local Governments where ordinary Nigerians reside.”
The meeting was attended by Aminu Waziri Tambuwal of Sokoto State (Chairman), Okezie Ikpeazu of Abia,
Udom Emmanuel of Akwa Ibom, Sen. Douye Diri ( Bayelsa), Samuel Ortom (Benue), Dr. Ifeanyi Okowa (Delta) Ifeanyi Ugwuanyi (Enugu), Nyesom Wike (Rivers), Oluseyi Abiodun Makinde (Oyo), Ahmadu Umaru Fintiri (Adamawa), Godwin Obaseki (Edo), Bala Mohammed (Bauchi), Arc Darius Ishaku (Taraba) and Deputy Governor Mahdi Mohd of Zamfara State.