The presidential candidate of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), Atiku Abubakar, has said the country is very broke under the All Progressives Congress-led government.
The former Vice President added that the Muhammadu Buhari administration has continued to run the country on budget deficits since it came to power in 2015.
Speaking on Tuesday at the presidential economic agenda forum of the Lagos Chamber of Commerce and Industry (LCCI), Atiku said Nigeria is currently being dressed in borrowed robes.
He stated that since the assumption of the APC government, the economy has been bad and ordinary Nigerians cannot afford basic commodities.
He said, “Nigeria is broke. Nigeria under the APC-led government has consistently run on budget deficits since it came to power in 2015. These budget deficits are often above the 3% threshold permissible under the Fiscal Responsibility Law.”
“For the first time in Nigeria’s history, the FGN paid more in debt service than it earned! By spending more than 100% of its revenue for debt service, Nigeria is breaching one of the applicable debt-sustainability thresholds.
”The failure of leadership by the APC-led government is staring every Nigerian in the face as the country’s economic, social, political and security challenges persist and assume frightening dimensions.
“Nigeria is being dressed in borrowed robes. APC has consistently run on a budget deficit since 2015… above three percent permissible threshold under FRA… and more if you add CBN and AMCON debt in ways and means.
“Per capita income, a measure of citizens’ well-being, has progressively fallen since 2015 because of declining output and a fast-growing population. Nigerians are worse off today than they were in 2015.
“The oil and gas sector, which is the economy’s lifeline has suffered a decline in 19 out of 30 quarters since 2014. For many economic sectors and for ordinary citizens it still feels like a recession.
“Under the present administration, our people are not working. More than 23 million people are out of jobs. In just 5 years between 2015 and 2020, the number of fully employed people dropped by 54%, from 68 million to 31 million people.
“The number of unemployed people is more than the population of Lagos state or the inhabitants of the Federal Capital Territory (FCT), Abia, Bayelsa, Cross River, Ebonyi, Kwara and Nasarawa states combined.
“What is even more worrisome is that the majority of the unemployed are young men and women, who lack not only the means to survive but any hope for the future. The number of unemployed youths increased by 9 million from 4 million in 2015 to 13 million in 2020.”
Speaking about his plans for the economy, Atiku promised to have a good relationship with the private sector, adding that the sector is important for any economy to succeed.
Abubakar added that the country’s economy is bleak and he has a good grasp of the economic and other challenges bedevilling the country.
He said: “We will ensure we give a warm handshake to the private sector. They are important for any sector or economy to succeed.
“I enjoy making people rich. I feel fulfiled when I make opportunities for others.
“No one should downplay the enormity of the tasks ahead. Indeed, I cannot think of a more daunting challenge than restoring confidence in the future of Nigeria as a dynamic economy and stable democracy.
“I have a good grasp of the challenges bedevilling Nigeria. I know the root causes of our problems. I know that many of these problems are self-inflicted and can be reversed if we are determined. And we are determined.
“I will not come unprepared. It is not in my character as a businessman or as a public officer to be caught off guard. My policy document contains the right policies that will be timely delivered.”