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Tinubu’s indifference to economic illegality worrisome – Peter Obi

The Labour Party (LP) presidential candidate in the 2023 general elections, Peter Obi, has bemoaned the lack of significant attention to economic management issues by the current administration.

Obi particularly expressed concern over the growing debt occasioned by the unjustifiable borrowings of the government for undisclosed expenditures.

He opposed the recent National Assembly’s approval of President Bola Tinubu’s request for the securitisation of outstanding N7.3 trillion ways and means debt balance.

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Obi voiced his concern on the management of the nation’s resources and economy in a thread on X on Tuesday.

While Ways and Means is a loan facility through which the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) provides short-term financing to cover the government’s budget shortfalls, securitisation is the practice of pooling together various types of debt instruments and selling them as bonds to investors.

“This is the time when we need to go beyond politics and partisan grandstanding to address the fundamental issues of rational economic management. I am afraid that the current administration is not paying sufficient attention to issues of rational economic management,” he said.

Obi described the securitisation as “illegal”, adding that the practice of breaching extant laws and conventions regarding taking loans from the apex bank does not bode well for the economy.

The LP’s presidential candidate said former President Muhammadu Buhari’s administration also got the senate to approve N22.7 trillion in ways and means borrowing from the CBN, barely 26 days to the end of the eight-year tenure.

“In seven years, CBN lending to the Buhari government had climbed 2700% in flagrant violation of the CBN Act,” the former Anambra governor said.

“Indifferent to the illegality of the excessive ways and means borrowing, the national assembly still approved the new Tinubu administration’s request for an N7.3 trn securitization of the existing ways and means facility just before considering the 2024 budget proposals.

“No questions asked. No explanations were sought as to the precise purpose of these borrowings all within the seven-month tenure of this government.

“Ordinarily, minimum public accountability should require that the president and his administration offer more specific explanations about the purpose of these borrowings. But so far, all we have been told is that these borrowings are meant to fund ‘capital’ expenditure,” he said

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