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Debt: Nigerians groan under mounting poverty, unemployment



Nigeria groaning under mounting debt, poverty and unemployment

Nigeria and Nigerians are currently groaning under mounting debt, poverty and unemployment which tell a story of untold hardship on the citizenry under the present administration of President Bola Ahmed Tinubu.

In reaction, a non-governmental Organization (NGO) known as the Civil Rights Concern (CRC), on the other hand, said some Civil Society Organization (CSOs), planning officers and banks policies are responsible for the mess.

CRC said it identified a co-relation between the increasing mass unemployment, high debt profile and widespread poverty in Anambra State.

The group stressed that, while external borrowing can be essential for development, managing it effectively is crucial to avoid overburdening the economy.

What is Nigeria’s debt situation in 2024?

According to the Debt Management Office (DMO), Nigeria’s debt situation as of the second quarter of 2024, stands at 87.38 trillion Nigerian Naira.

The staggering debt burden has placed severe burden on the country’s economic stability and growth prospects.

The country currently faces an inflation rate of 28.2 percent.

The rising cost of living, coupled with the ballooning public debt, poses risks to the nation’s economic health.

Nigeria’s external debt reached $41.6 billion in September 2023.

Another area of concern is her debt servicing commitments.

The government projected the sum of N8.25 trillion, representing 45% of expected total revenue for debt servicing in 2024.

Meanwhile, the projected budget deficit for 2024 is N9.18 trillion, which accounts for 3.88 percent of GDP.

This represents a 33.33% decrease compared to the 2023 deficit.

Currently, Nigeria faces the challenge of managing its debt while ensuring sustainable economic growth.

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The challenge of balancing debt repayment, controlling inflation, and fiscal sagacity are crucial for her financial stability.

What did CRC say?

Reacting, CRC said it believes that planning officers, bank policies and CSOs should be held responsible.

CRC made the disclosure during an engagement seminar with stakeholders including media practitioners in Awka, the state capital.

The event was monitored by Diaspora Digital Media (DDM) correspondent, Mr. Chuks Collins.

Speaking, CRC Executive Director, Mr. Okey Onyeka urged government at various levels to find a lasting solution to the hydra headed issue of unemployment, increasing debt profile and increasing poverty in the country in general, and South East in particular.

Mr. Onyeka lamented that key stakeholders and citizens have not lived up to their duties in monitoring actively what governments at various levels do with funds, especially the series of huge loans they have been taking.

He stressed the need to engage them, saying it has become imperative.

The CRC Executive Director decried the paradox wherein poverty and unemployment levels are increasing simultaneously with mounting debt profile.

“This was where it was anticipated to be the other way round,” he said.

How is the South East affected?

Onyeka further pointed out that it has become a common occurrence in the South East to have huge gap between Capital Expenditures and Recurrent Expenditures.

“We put this engagement together to open the eyes of the people to know what is happening in the South East states especially, as poverty level has continued to grow yet debt profile is also increasing.

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“The implication of the above is that the loans obtained by various governments in the zone are not effectively used to create wealth.

“If past and present administrations have been using borrowed monies for capital expenditure, poverty level would have reduced considerably,” he added.

Onyeka also expressed concern that the Igbos, despite their industriousness, are also bowing to hardship pressures.

“Ndigbo don’t beg.

“Government at all levels should do everything in their powers to prevent pushing them into unnecessary poverty and begging for survival,” he warned.

He stated that the issue of increasing debt and poverty profiles will be checkmated if all the loans taken by the duty bearers were judiciously utilized and closely monitored.

He assured that CRC will continue to sensitize the public through the media and regular positive engagement with critical stakeholders.

This, he said, will ignite their interest in installing budget discipline in government officials through close monitoring and speaking out whenever not satisfied or clear.

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