Former Vice President, Alhaji Atiku Abubakar has asked the federal government to sell some of the planes in its Presidential Air Fleet to cushion Nigeria’s rising debt profile.
Atiku, who was expressing his surprise at Nigeria’s First Quarter 2020 financial reports in the Medium Term Expenditure Framework and Fiscal Strategy from the Federal Ministry of Finance, Budget, and National Planning on Monday said: “Nigeria must sell those planes and channel the revenue to other vital areas of need while taking additional steps to reduce the cost of running our government.”
The 2019 Peoples Democratic Party’s Presidential Candidate added that the Federal Government cannot continue to justify these unsustainable numbers by pointing at Nigeria’s debt to GDP ratio.
He said: “That is only half the picture. Our debt to revenue ratio paints a much more realistic portrait of our financial situation, especially as our revenues are majorly tied to a mono-product, oil and gas, which are very vulnerable to global shocks.”
The former vice president in an article titled: “Nigeria In Financial Crisis: Robbing Our Children to Pay for Our Greed” stressed the need to take drastic steps to correct rising debt profile.
According to him: “Not only have we squandered our opportunities, but we have also squandered the opportunities of our future generations by bequeathing them a debt that they neither incurred nor enjoyed.
“As a matter of utmost urgency and importance, I call on the Federal Government to take immediate steps to drastically reduce its expenditure, especially on wasteful projects, such as maintenance of the Presidential Air Fleet, and unnecessary renovations of buildings that could serve as is, limousine fleet for top government officials, overseas travels and treatments, and the ₦4.6billion Presidential villa maintenance budget, etc.
“We cannot be on the verge of economic ruin, while still maintaining a Presidential Air Fleet that has more planes than the Presidential fleets of those from whom we take these loans.”