Speaking at the Edo transition committee stakeholders engagement, Governor Obaseki expressed worry over rising debts of the nation, adding that Nigeria’s economy is no longer what it used to be due to over-dependence on crude oil.
Obaseki noted the Nigerian economy can no longer rely on global oil prices because major oil-producing companies are now investing in alternative sectors.
“My brothers and sisters, we are in trouble. We are in a deep financial trouble. Nigeria has changed. The economy of Nigeria is not the same again whether we like it or not,” he said.
“Since the civil war, we have been managing, saying money is not our problem as long as we are pumping crude oil everyday.
“So we have run a very strange economy and strange presidential system where the local, state and federal government, at the end of the month, go and earn salary. We are the only country in the world that does that.
“Everywhere else, government rely on the people to produce taxes and that is what they use to run the local government, state and the federation. But with the way we run Nigeria, the country can go to sleep.
“At the end of the month, we just go to Abuja, collect money and we come back to spend. We are in trouble, huge financial trouble. The current price of crude oil is only a mirage.
“The major oil companies who are the ones producing are no longer investing much in oil. Shell is pulling out of Nigeria and Chevron is now one of the world’s largest investors in alternative fuel, so in another year or so, where will we find this money that we go to share in Abuja?
“We said remove subsidy, they said no. My worry is that we will wake up one day like Argentina, the naira will be 1,000, 2,000 and will be moving because we don’t have money coming in.
“You are just borrowing, borrowing and borrowing without any means or idea of how to pay back. When we got FAAC for March, the federal government printed additional N50-N60 billion to top-up for us to share.
“This April again, we will go to Abuja and share. By the end of this year, our total borrowings is going to be within N15-N16 trillion.
“Imagine a family that is just borrowing without any means to pay back and nobody is looking at that, everybody is looking at 2023, everybody is blaming Mr. President as if he is a magician.”
Governor Obaseki expressed worry that the people are concerned about the 2023 election while they keep blaming the president for the current state of the nation’s economy.
KanyiDaily had reported that despite Nigeria owing $86.39 billion (N32.9 trillionn) to external creditors, the Minister of Finance, Zainab Ahmed, said the nation’s level of borrowing is not unreasonable.