Civil rights advocacy group, Human Rights Writers Association of Nigeria, has urged the President, Major General Muhammadu Buhari (retd.), to rename the Federal Ministry of Finance, Budget and National Planning to the Federal Ministry for Foreign Loans and Debts Accumulation.
National Coordinator of HURIWA, Emmanuel Onwubiko, and the group’s Media Affairs Director, Zainab Yusuf, made this known in a statement titled ‘Rename Finance Minister To Minister Of Foreign Loans Collection:- HURIWA Tells President Buhari’.
The group was reacting to the recently approved request by the Senate for the President to borrow N2,343,387,942,848, to part-finance the 2021 federal budget size of N13trn.
HURIWA said, “We honestly think that the President should table before his weak Federal Executive Council the proposal for a change of name of the Federal Ministry of Finance, Budget and National Planning to the Federal Ministry for Foreign Loans and Debts Accumulation.
“This is because Nigerians have come to see that the Minister of Finance Zainab Ahmed does nothing else than inundating Nigerians with the bad news of the constant requests from all kinds of places around the world for external Loans which are actually not been utilised to grow the economy or advance the living conditions of Nigerians but these huge loans are used to service the ballooning costs of running government and paying juicy allowances to Federal government officials.”
The rights group lampooned the National Assembly led by Senate President, Ahmad Lawan; as well as House of Representatives Speaker, Femi Gbajabiamila; for endorsing the foreign loan requests of the President who is the leader of their party – the All Progressives Congress.
HURIWA also lamented that whereas most nations of the world are concentrating their economic and national planning efforts towards boosting the productivity of their citizens through industralisation and maintenance of public works and social infrastructures, “the federal and state governments in Nigeria are in the bonanza of collecting foreign credit facilities and loans so as to finance the ostentatious political lifestyles of the politicians in the corridors of power”.
“This to is is the new kind of enslavement which must be resisted. Whereas these government officials collect loans and fritter to find their expensive lifestyles, millions of Nigerians have become impoverished over time.
“Infact only two years back, Nigeria became the home to over 90 million absolutely poor citizens and the poverty capital of the World even whilst the nation is still very rich in terms of mineral and crude oil resources whose revenues are looted heartlessly by officials,” the statement added.