The Vice President-elect, Prof. Yomi Osinbajo, has said the Muhammadu Buhari-led government will inherit the worst economy ever in the history of the nation.
Osinbajo spoke during the opening of a two-day Policy Dialogue on the Implementation of the Agenda for Change, which began in Abuja on Wednesday.
Osinbajo put the nation’s local and international debt profile at US$60bn with a 2015 debt-serving bill of N953.6bn, representing 21 per cent of this year’s budget.
He noted that an estimated 110 million out of the nation’s over 170 million population, were living in extreme poverty while the largest chunk of the benefits of the nation’s wealth was going into the pockets of a small percentage of the population. According to him, the nation’s dwindling oil revenues has made it difficult for 24 of Nigeria’s 36 states to pay salaries.
He said, “We are concerned that our economy is currently in perhaps its worst moment in history. Local and international debts stand at US$ 60bn. Our debt servicing bill for 2015 is N953.6bn, 21 per cent of our budget. On account of severely dwindled resources, over two-thirds of the states in Nigeria owe salaries. Federal institutions are not in much better shape. Today, the nation borrows to fund recurrent expenditure.”
Osinbajo said the manifesto of the All Progressives Congress “offers a vision of shared prosperity and socio-economic inclusion for all Nigerians that leaves no one behind in the pursuit of a prosperous and fulfilling life.”
According to him, the goal of the policy dialogue is to interrogate the positions and propositions before a wider audience and to launch a robust public conversation on policy directions and priorities that would help inform the incoming administration’s approach in the next four years.
He added that the “forum exemplifies the sort of consultative and consensual approach to policy-making that the APC and the new administration intend to model in office.”
The Vice President-elect also declared that the dialogue intended to explore a wide range of policy priorities including the diversification of the economy in the wake of dwindling oil revenues.
To achieve this, he said, the administration would engender job-led growth through the revitalisation of the agricultural sector in pursuit of job creation and food security, improving the regulatory frameworks in the most strategic sphere of economic activity.