OrderPaperToday – Civil Society Organisations (CSOs) in the country have expressed worry over the recent warning by the International Monetary Fund (IMF) that Nigeria may spend nearly 100 percent of its revenue on debt servicing by 2026.

This was further re-echoed on Wednesday, during a Development Dialogue Session of the Growth Initiatives for Fiscal Transparency (GIFT) Project Nigeria themed “Revenue, Remittances, and Resource Beneficiation.”

Executive Director of OrderPaper Nigeria, Oke Epia expressed concern over the recent report during his remarks at the GIFT event.

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“It is not welcoming to read of the alert by the International Monetary Fund (IMF) that Nigeria may be spending 100% of her revenues on debt servicing. This news made the headlines on network television last night and it made my heart sink. I am sure it is so for many, if not all of us gathered here this morning.

Such concerning prospect signposts the grim reality of our time: where Nigeria’s rich natural resource endowments have turned in very little or no benefits to her citizens.

 And it is precisely why we have requested your esteemed presence and participation at this Development Dialogue today.”

READ ALSO: GIFT Initiative: CSOs seek prevention of corruption, speedy passage of FRA Amendment Bill

Speaking further, he noted that the theme of the Dialogue speaks to the issues of the moment especially because remittances from the (petroleum) extractive sector are at the heart of Nigeria’s revenue crisis.

 “That’s why the GIFT Nigeria Project is heavy on the amendment of the Fiscal Responsibility Act (2007) as a major item. The FRA which came to life on 30th July, 2007, was a bold move by the government of the day to instill fiscal discipline and prudence in public finance management,” he stated.

 

GIFT Development Dialogue is held under the auspices of the GIFT Nigeria Project – Growth Initiatives for Fiscal Transparency – being implemented by OrderPaper Advocacy Initiative (OAI) and its cluster partners: Centre for Transparency Advocacy (CTA), HipCity Innovation Centre, CLICE Foundation, and Nigeria Institute of Quantity Surveyors (NIQS).

The initiative also has the support of the United States Agency for International Development (USAID) under the Strengthening Civic Advocacy and Local Engagement (SCALE) Project.

READ ALSO: GIFT Initiative: CSOs seek transparency and accountability in extractive sector

IMF’s Resident Representative for Nigeria, Ari Aisen, had on Monday in Abuja,issued the alert on Nigeria’s borrowing during the presentation of its latest Sub-Saharan Africa Regional Economic Outlook report.

 The Bretton Wood institution described it as an existential issue raised concerns over Nigeria’s fiscal conditions, where it highlighted that it spends about 89 percent of its revenue on debt.

“I think the biggest critical aspect for Nigeria is that we have done a macro-fiscal stress test, and what you observe is the interest payments as a share of revenue and as you see us in terms of the baseline from the federal government of Nigeria, the revenue, almost 100 percent, is projected by 2026 to be taken by debt service,” the IMF said.

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