President Bola Ahmed Tinubu’s administration has sparked debate with accusations of a “empty treasury” and “bankruptcy.”

Despite the fact that rising inflation in Nigeria is making life more expensive and reducing people’s purchasing power, the country’s population is growing even poorer.

According to the World Bank, Nigeria spent more than 96% of its revenue on debt servicing in 2022, and by the second quarter of 2023, the country’s total debt stocks had risen to N87.38 trillion. This was reported by MISMOB.

The government claims it is not all doom and gloom as it continues to ‘take modest steps’ to address the country’s economic issues.

On the other hand, recent presidential pronouncements have elicited conflicting reactions from Nigerians.

MISMOB  stated that the National Security Adviser (NSA), Nuhu Ribadu, recently disclosed that President Bola Tinubu’s administration inherited a bankrupt country from the previous government.

According to Ribadu, who spoke at the Chief of Defence Intelligence Annual Conference 2023 in Abuja, the money that Tinubu’s administration has made is being used to pay back the money that was stolen from the country.

previous legislator Shehu Sani encouraged Tinubu back in June to put country first and be honest about what he inherited from previous President Muhammadu Buhari’s administration, rather than hide the facts out of party solidarity.

Sani argued that it was unreasonable to expect low-income Nigerians to make sacrifices before they were informed of the damage done by the previous government.

To quote the handover book, “The Tinubu Government must put party solidarity aside and tell the country the truth about what they inherited.”

Without understanding what transpired under the previous regime, “it’s unfair to ask the poor masses to make sacrifices,” Sani remarked.

While this was going on, the MISMOB discovered that the federal government saved about N1.45tn from the revenues gained from the removal of subsidy on Premium Motor Spirit, commonly known as gasoline, between June and September.

This is according to FAAC allocation documentation retrieved from the website of Nigeria’s Governors Forum and National Bureau of Statistics.

The Federal Government of Nigeria has saved N1tn in the two months (June and July) since the withdrawal of the petrol subsidy, as Tinubu had announced in a countrywide broadcast on August 1.

Over a trillion Naira was saved in just over two months by eliminating the ineffective fuel subsidy that benefited only smugglers and fraudsters, the President remarked.

Dr. Samson Simon, an Economist at ARKK Economics and Data Ltd, commented on the situation, telling MISMOB  that the people of Nigeria deserve to know the facts and the real state of the economy.

He blamed the country’s lack of foreign cash on oil theft, saying that neither the previous nor the current administration had done enough to combat the problem.

The economist admitted that things are dire economically and emphasized that every Nigerian has the right to expect their government to be open and honest.

He went on to say that the Nigerian people can’t do their part to improve the economy unless they know the facts and an understanding of the problem’s nature.

He stated, ”The truth is that the Nigerian economy is in a parlous state, and being in a parlous state means that it is bankrupt as they imply.

The difficulty of servicing our debts alone is indicative of the extent to which they are bankrupt. It’s difficult enough to pay the interest on our debts, let alone fund other essentials like salaries, infrastructure, and fighting insecurity. So it is definitely in a poor situation.

While it’s true that our nation has a lot of debt, I’ve heard it argued that revenue rather than debt is the real issue. To what end did they make the statement?

Because “if you look at our debt to GDP ratio it is generally okay as much as we have amassed debt, and then this devaluation of foreign money has also made the external debt to go high.

The problem is that we barely make any money. We’re having trouble turning a profit. Furthermore, our country has one of the lowest ratios of GDP to revenue creation globally.

Therefore, we are in a very precarious position because we generate comparatively little and spend most of it on debt service.

Many of us have advocated for subsidy elimination, but it was handled poorly. There must be safeguards in place before gasoline subsidies can be eliminated.

The administration erred in doing that. You can’t simply claim that you’ve unified the forex market. There are necessary steps to take. There are some things that must be established. Nothing of the sort occurred. And that’s why they’re still footing the bill for the gasoline subsidies even though they said they got rid of it.

“Why? They harmonized the foreign currency market, which is a wonderful thing, but they didn’t do it the proper way. But because they did not put everything in place, they now have a backlog, there is scarcity of funds.There is a shortage of available foreign currency.

In most cases, they have not taken action to address the issue. Therefore, certain conditions must be met before some of these objects can function as they should.

”Oil theft is the primary reason we have such a shortage of foreign currency. Nigeria relies heavily on revenue from the sale of crude oil to bring in money from abroad. And the government has been having trouble keeping up with the OPEC quota because of oil theft.

The question is, “Are we doing anything to fix this problem?” We have severe oil theft in Nigeria and it did not start today, it has been a problem for a while now. Under Buhari, things only worsened. So, what exactly did Buhari do to fix things? Next to nothing. Where does Tinubu stand on the issue of oil theft? Next to nothing.

So, the honest fact is that we haven’t given any of our difficulties much thought yet. And this has repercussions for the economy as a whole.

“The reality is nobody is truly serious about fixing any of our problems; perhaps when we have the right crop of leaders who will confront this problem head on or put anything about their own interest on the back seat and face Nigeria’s crisis honestly.

Lack of openness is a major issue for us. If you look at this corruption people talk about, it is because of openness. If everything could be seen by everyone, corruption would be nearly nonexistent.

“And we are all Nigerians, nobody is superior. Simply holding the office of president does not elevate one to a higher status among Nigerians. Since we are all Nigerians, we have an equal right to information. This new government is a democracy. We are not in a country where we have masters and servants.

The government has a duty of candor toward the populace. If the economy is to blame, we already know things are awful but we need additional information. And it is our right to know. I think it is the right of all Nigerians to demand accountability, to demand for transparency.

To paraphrase a famous politician, “If we have the specifics, that will help us understand what we have to do and how we can contribute our quota to address the problem, but if we don’t know the particular nature of the problem, you can only be talking in generality, which isn’t targeted and may not give you what you’re looking for.

They owe it to us, in my opinion. Having an open government is the best approach to make America great again. If only all of our leaders were open and selfless,” he said.

Also speaking to mismob , the Executive Director of Daniel Ukwu Foundation, DUF, Daniel Nkemaloma Ukwu urged the government to tell Nigerians the breakdown of the liabilities left behind.

If the administration is serious, as he claims it is, it will establish an investigation panel.

”They are just playing with Nigerians,” he claimed. The same political group is now claiming responsibility for the country’s financial ruin.

If they are honest, they should disclose the costs they incurred while on the ground. But they can’t convince anyone of that because their actions contradict what they preach. At least, the last time we checked, they were heavily invested in purchasing SUVs.

It’s time for them to quit making excuses. When they were campaigning to enter politics, they were blind to the possibility of failure. When their job is to help us, they shouldn’t be giving us reasons.

They ought to wipe the slate clean if they did indeed inherit an insolvent company. Like a person whose car’s engine has been knocked, the best course of action is to try to restore order.

”The explanation doesn’t fly with Nigerians. If they claim that’s the case, then by all means, show us the numbers. Let us know the liabilities left behind and what effort they are making to reclaim them or even probe the administration, if they are genuinely sincere.

But I can see they’re simply playing for show; if the government is serious, it should appoint a panel to investigate the allegations.

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