• Wednesday, July 17, 2024
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Association of Professional bodies calls for caution on fund borrowing by government

Association of Professional bodies calls for caution on fund borrowing by government

Association of Professional Bodies of Nigeria, APBN has looked at external borrowing by the country in the recent time and called for caution as data has also shown that the country is spending a huge chunk of its annual budget on debt servicing alone.

Nigeria’s public debt, including domestic and external debt has been rising in the last 15 years after Olusegun Obasanjo-led administration (1999-2007) secured debt relief. Nigeria external debt alone is approaching $45 billion, according to APBN

Similarly, the association was worried that Nigeria spent a sum of N1.02 trillion on domestic and foreign debt service in the first quarter of 2021, representing a 35.7% year-on-year increase compared to N753.7 billion spent in the corresponding period of 2020.

On the borrowing, the President of the association Akinloye O. Oyegbola who revealed the position of the association on a number of national issues at their 37 annual general meeting recently in Lagos advised that if the loan is for infrastructure, then the loans should payout themselves.

Speaking on insecurity, Oyegbola described it as a major concern. He said the issue formed a major thrust of the board’s last deliberations because of the seeming intractability of this issue. “The nation’s economy is being stunted, and may not attract the much-needed investments as long as there are these palpable feelings of insecurity in the land”.

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The association therefore urged the Federal Government to sustain its onslaught against bandits, insurgents, kidnappers and criminal elements across the country.

The association also looked at the lingering issue around VAT and suggested that it should be given ample consideration at all levels so as to prevent it from degenerating into a conflagrating crisis. “The issues about duplicity of taxation will depress the economy if not nipped in the bud”, it said.

On AFCFTA, the association believes that Nigeria as the continent’s largest economy, has a huge role to play in making the African Continental Free Trade Agreement deal to work.

“AfCFTA provides free movement of goods and services within the markets of countries that are signatories to the agreement. Signatories to the deal have the opportunity of exploring the continent’s over 1.2billion market. We will like to implore the federal government to encourage Nigerian brands and investors, to leverage this deal to expand their business frontiers and enhance the nation’s economy”.

Bayo Adeola who spoke at the Annual General Assembly and Awards of the Association advised that not only must professional bodies engage in activities they are presently focussed on better, but they must also take on even the greater challenges of national development. “ We need to focus more on what we can do outside of government rather than our unproductive complaining”, he said.

He said if the society must change for the better, it must start with some individuals who determine the desired values the society should embrace, adopt and commit themselves to these values, and constitute the nucleus from where these values are spread through the larger society. “The professional is perhaps a good candidate for this role, and the professional association is perhaps a good group around which these values could be determined, developed and shared”, he said.