Nigeria is facing difficult economic times, according to the first three citizens of the nation.
Speaking independently on February 1, President Muhammadu Buhari, Vice President Yemi Osinbajo and Senate President, Ahmad Lawan, all acknowledged that the nation was facing economic difficulties.
Addressing the issue of incessant strike actions by university lecturers, President Buhari said his government was committed to agreements reached with them, but that the lecturers should understand that the nation was in economic difficulties.
“…They should be cognizant of the fiscal pressures that we are currently facing. Nevertheless, we remain committed to honouring our promises”, Buhari said.
Members of the Nigeria Inter-Religious Council brokering a rapprochement between the Academic Staff Union of Universities and the government had raised the issue with the president. Government’s failure to make agreed payments has been a sticking point.
On his part, Vice President Yemi Osinbajo, lamented that though Nigeria’s tax collection has recently improved, the nation’s tax-to-GDP ratio remained one of the lowest in the world.
Speaking at the 10th anniversary of the Chartered Institute of Taxation, the vice president said:
“Nigeria’s tax to GDP ratio is one of the lowest in the world. It is at about eight per cent while our comparators are in the neighborhood of about 15 per cent to 25 per cent. Even in Africa we can surely do better. This is symptomatic of undue reliance on oil revenue as a result of fiscal imbalances in our nation’s financial landscape.”
Speaking at the same occasion, Senate President, Ahmad Lawan, declared matter-of-factly:
“Our country today is in crises. There are no two ways about it.
“And it will interest you to know that. Let me give you some key figures that will, perhaps predicate some of the things that I am going to say.
“In 2019, our total debt service was N2.5 trillion. By the end of 2021, it had risen to N4.2 trillion. Our total budget deficit in 2019 was N4. 62 trillion. By December last year, it had risen to N8.74 trillion.”
Both the Vice President and the Senate President were represented at the occasion.
By: Okwudili Ojukwu-Enendu