Nigeria’s foreign and domestic debts stand at about $62 billion and may rise to about $90 billion, chairman Senate Committee on Foreign and Domestic Debt, Shehu Sani, has stated.
Speaking in an exclusive interview with newsmen, Sani said the profile will rise because almost all states have approached the National Assembly through the Presidency for approval of additional foreign loans.
The Kaduna Central Senator lamented previous loans collected by states over the years have not been properly accounted because the projects are not verifiable.
Sani said: “Nigerian’s total debt, both domestic and foreign stands at over $62 billion.
“$40 billion of that is domestic debt while the rest is foreign debt. Actually, foreign debt stands at about $10.2 billion.
“With the approvals before us for different infrastructural projects and from states applying for loans, we may shoot up to as high as between $80- 90 billion.”
Sani said the National Assembly will carefully verify all the requests for foreign loans to stand down the debt profile.
“That is why we have to be very cautious. Our experts will say that we are within the safe threshold of debt.
“But we should also know very well that this could skyrocket to an unbeatable limit,” he explained.
To get approvals, he said the requests must meet certain requirements.
“We will be guided by a number of things. First is expert opinion on these loans applications, then conditions attached to the loans, payment plans and public opinion.
“We should know that debt is a new form of colonialism where the western developed world are colonising us by making sure that we are pinned down to debt.
“Most of these debts are still about us, our children and our grand children irrespective of who is giving it.”