The Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) has described as inaccurate figures given out by Vice President Yemi Osibanjo on the country’s rising debt profile.
The party said the debt had escalated to a frightening proportion under the watch of the Buhari administration.
Speaking at a public lecture organised by the Sigma Club in Ibadan on Saturday, Osinbajo had stated that the Buhari-led administration inherited a debt of $63 billion and had only borrowed $10 billion since it took office in 2015.
The Vice President said, “In 2010, our debt was $35 billion; $41 billion in 2011; $48 billion in 2012; $64 billion in 2013; $67.7 billion in 2014; $63.8 billion in 2015; $57.8 billion in 2016; $70 billion in 2017; and $73 billion in 2018.
“The nation’s debt as at today was $73 bilłion, an increment of $10 billion from the $63 billion inherited in 2015.”
Speaking further at the event, Osinbajo said the nation’s oil earnings stood at $119.8 billion between 1990 and 1998; $481 billion from 1999 to 2009; and $381 billion from 2010 to 2014, while the present administration has only earned $112 billion from June 2015.
“The earnings from oil from 2010 to 2014 were the highest recorded in the history of the country. This was a period when the price of oil per barrel sold from $100 to $114″, Osinbajo added.
But while addressing a media conference in Abuja on Thursday, the spokesman for the PDP, Kola Ologbondiyan accused Osinbajo of deliberate distortion of facts and figures.
The main opposition party described the vice president’s position as a desperate attempt to divert attention from the “failures” of the administration.
Ologbondiyan said, “Vice President Osinbajo falsified financial templates to argue that this government has no blame in the accumulation of debts under its watch.
“It is an incontrovertible fact that the Buhari administration has accumulated more debts than any other administration in the history of our nation.
“Our dear Vice President forgot that Nigerians are aware that between 2016 and 2017, under President Buhari, our annual borrowing was about N3.7trillion as against the N1.04 trillion annual borrowing perimeter between 2008 to 2015. Between 1999 to 2007 the annual borrowing perimeter was as low as N96 billion.
“To deceive the public and divert attention from the alarming borrowing spree of the Buhari administration, the APC-led Federal Government converted domestic debt borrowed in naira under its watch, to the US dollar so that the very high exchange rate will make the domestic debt look smaller in dollars. This is a deceptive picture because domestic debt was accumulated in naira and not in dollar.
“It is important to point out that the domestic debts of states were not part of the data base until 2013. Therefore, a sincere comparison of debts over the years should have focused on total external debt and Federal Government’s domestic debt.
“In view of the above, if Vice President Osinbajo, a professor of law was not being economical with the truth, the appropriate comparison should be to have the domestic debt in naira and convert the external debt to naira to get national debt for each of the years, which showed that the Buhari administration has accumulated more debts that any other administration”
“Nigerians have moved beyond the lies, deception, propaganda and beguilement of the APC. It amounts to a huge disservice to our nation if a person of such high office of the Vice President will allow himself to be used to distort figures to deceive Nigerians”, Ologbondiyan said.