President Muhammadu Buhari’s government has taken loans from about 10 international banks and agencies, including the Islamic Development Bank and the Arab Bank for Economic Development in Africa, plunging the country into a $17 billion multilateral debt crisis.

Out of the $17 billion, the Nigerian government, which has been lambasted as wasteful and denying citizens of good infrastructure, collected $29.72 million from the Islamic Bank and $5.88 million from the Arab Bank.

Nigeria's President Muhammadu Buhari.

SaharaReporters obtained these figures from a report, Nigeria’s External Debt Stock in Millions of USD, prepared by the Debt Management Office, Abuja, and the National Bureau of Statistics.

From the document, the Buhari government took loans from “the International Monetary Fund, the World Bank Group through the International Development Association $11 billion; the International Bank for Reconstruction and Development; $410 million; the African Development Bank Group; the African Development Bank $1 billion; Africa Growing Together Fund; $0.21 million; and the African Development Fund, $942 million.”  

Others are: “Arab Bank for Economic Development in Africa, $5.88 million; European Development Fund, $51.33 million; the Islamic Development Bank; $29.72 million; and the International Fund for Agricultural Development, $223.28.”  

According to the document, the total of the country’s multilateral loans stands at $17,830,000,0000 ($17billlion).

This is only about 54.26 per cent of Nigeria’s total external debt which stands at $33 billion as of March 31, 2021.

Since the Buhari administration came to power in May 2015, Nigeria’s debt stock has risen astronomically with the government insisting that it had no options but to borrow if it would meet the growing demands of governance.

In 2015, Nigeria had a total foreign debt stock of $7.02 billion compared to the present staggering $33billion.

The Minister of Minister of Works and Housing, Babatunde Fashola, had about a week ago defended the Nigerian Government’s resort to loans to expand infrastructure in the country.

Fashola, who spoke to the News Agency of Nigeria, had said that the country would not make meaningful progress without taking loans to boost infrastructure.

”It is in our own interest that the government does some borrowing and spends it on investment because that sector contributes to the Gross Domestic Products (GDP) and contributes to employment.

“I do not support irresponsible borrowing so let us be clear; there has to be some sense to this.

“So long as you are borrowing to invest and you are investing in assets, then we can have this debate from morning till night and I don’t think I will come out unsuccessful. I agree everybody must keep their eyes open about how money is being borrowed, what it is being used for and whether the debt is sustainable,” the minister had said.

In August 2020, former Vice President and the presidential candidate of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) in the 2019 general election, Atiku Abubakar, had stated that the Buhari-led government and the All Progressives Congress (APC) must apologise to Nigerians and make an admittance of guilt for plunging the country into a near intractable debt crisis.

“We all are aware that Nigeria's sovereignty may have been traded for foreign loans and God forbid our inability to service those loans, the lender country would take ownership of choice infrastructure on the Nigerian soil. No negotiation could be weaker than that.

“Debt, by itself, is not a bad thing. But debt budgeted for such unproductive ventures, like the proposed $500 million upgrade of the Nigerian Television Authority and other sundry bogus contracts, is debt that leads to death. To trade Nigeria's sovereignty for this type of profligacy is the height of irresponsibility,” Atiku had said.

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