Nigeria May Enter Another Death Trap – Pat Utomi

Patrick Okedinachi Utomi  a Nigerian professor of political economy and management expert has warned that Nigeria runs the risk of entering another debt trap if it keeps borrowing for recurring expenditure. He urged that Nigeria develops a clear national approach, which looks at how growth can take place in a sustainable manner in this economy.

Utomi said, “Our country is going through a very trying period. This is a time for statesmen to emerge, not people arguing partisan position on things.

Utomi disclosed this in an interview on Sunday, following President Muhammadu Buhari’s  requesting to borrow over $4 billion from external lenders.

“The Nigerian economy, is not growing in any way or shape that can accommodate its needs, population growth, rates, location on scale of poor countries. It means that in terms of absolute numbers of people living in poverty, that this is one of the most terrible places to live in on earth.”

Utomi said that even though the borrowings are sometimes justifiable, there was cause for concern seeing how much of Nigeria’s revenue goes into debt servicing.

“In terms of statistic’s being said, yes, in an absolute sense, the fact of borrowing $4 billion is not necessarily something that will kill Nigeria, even though if you look at how much of our revenues going into servicing debt, you have to worry.

“However, there is a converse point here. This country needs to grow like crazy, and it cannot grow unless you invest. The real issue is the targeting of borrowed funds.

“Am I convinced that the targeting is enough to drive the kind of growth that will facilitate the economy to grow in a sustainable manner? I have not been given enough information to believe that it is the case.”

He added that Nigeria has been in this position before, back in the 70s, when General Obasanjo was head of state.

“One of the reasons Nigeria is where it is today, is that oil price dropped during the heat of last year, compounded by supply chain challenges brought about by the lockdown, which led to revenue shortfall of a significant nature because we have failed to do something we said we are doing, which is to diversify the base of the Nigerian economy.

“Do I see the plans that these borrowings will facilitate the diversification of the economy? My straight answer is No, I do not see the plan.

“We need to develop a clear nation strategy, which looks at how growth can take place in a sustainable manner in this economy, then we can borrow, twice or three times as much as we are borrowing, and I won’t be afraid,” he urged.