The Civil Society Legislative Advocacy Centre (CISLAC) has raised an alarm over the nonchalance displayed by the President Bola Tinubu administration towards the country’s rising debt profile.
The Executive Director of CISLAC, Auwal Ibrahim Musa (Rafsanjani), in a statement, expressed concerns over Nigeria’s startling 75% surge in debt, now towering at a staggering N87 trillion, saying “the figure represents an increase of 75.29%, or N37.53tn, compared to N49.85tn recorded at the end of March 2023.”
Rafsanjani highlighted the concerning fiscal implications for the nation, especially as it struggles to manage debt interest payments, despite the expected monthly savings of approximately N400 billion from fuel subsidy removal.
In the statement, Rafsanjani pointed out, “At a time when the international community is pushing for substantial debt relief initiatives and multilateral financial reforms, Nigeria’s deepening debt situation and fiscal recklessness are being called into question.”
“With Nigeria grappling with both a significant revenue and debt crisis, pressure is mounting on the current administration to address these challenges without further exacerbating borrowings,” Rafsanjani noted.
He added, “Analysts call for efforts to reduce the cost of governance, broaden the tax net, drive compliance, and plug leakages. Collaboration between the government and taxpayers is encouraged to boost tax revenue, ensuring a strong connection between access to public services and tax compliance. Policies promoting tax transparency should be swiftly implemented, and partnerships with taxpayers should be nurtured to ensure the direct utilization of taxes for infrastructure. Moreover, involving informal sector groups in tax compliance efforts and expanding the whistleblowing policy to gather intelligence for tax enforcement is deemed essential.
Rafsanjani also emphasized the urgent need for the National Assembly (NASS) to meticulously scrutinize loan requests, ensuring compliance with the law and alignment with the interests of the Nigerian public.
“In response to these pressing concerns, CISLAC has issued a fervent call to all well-meaning Nigerians, urging them to persistently demand fiscal prudence and a heightened concern for the citizenry from the government,” the statement concludes.