Business

Time To Probe Nigeria's $12bn Debt Repayment

With the return of democracy in 1999 it became obvious to those looting the country’s economy using so called national debts that it wouldn’t take long before Nigerians began to demand explanations for the country’s debts.
Soon, Ms. Okonjo-Iweala had to be dispatched to Nigeria by the Rockefeller-led Wall Street Money Trust with the camouflage that she was going to help Nigeria sort out its economic problems.

Little wonder back ‘home’ she left no stone unturned in pursuit of the Rockefeller interests. After some carefully orchestrated hide-and-seek, an unheard-of $12bn belonging to the Nigerian people was moved from government treasury to the Rockefeller-led Wall Street who deceptively hid so-called the Paris and London club of creditors.

That Obasanjo was tricked into allowing her to move such unheard-of sum — $12bn — was not taken lightly to the extent that Ms. Okonjo-Iweala had to be transferred to foreign affairs ministry. Quietly she resigned and returned to Washington to become the managing director of one the World Bank’s subsidiaries.

Had it been that before moving the $12bn, full-scale investigation was conducted to unravel how the so-called national debt was accumulated, the truth would have emerged during the investigation that our actual debt was $4.03 in 1980 (comprising $1.75bn in 1978 and $2.28bn in 1979 and partly in 1980).

Before shipping our $12bn to Wall Street and City of London bankers in 2006, Nigerians would have known that what made the debt a scam was because from low interest rate we borrowed the money, suddenly the US Federal Reserve Chairman, Paul Volcker, on October 1979 increased the same interest rate by 300 percent and kept so high until 1982, when it had done maximum damage to those developing economies that were earlier lured into borrowing a giveaway floating interest rate.

At least, it would have revealed that what deepened the debt crisis was the fact that military and politicians, with the full connivance of Wall Street bankers, divert the borrowed money which they kept in western banks and then turnaround to be spending the country’s scarce oil revenue to be servicing the debt. And that Buhari’s military intervention in 1983 was to stop the ongoing economic conspiracy against Nigerian people.

A full-fledged investigation would have revealed how to stop Gen Buhari from eventually exposing those who collaborated in this defrauding of Nigeria, the Rockefeller-led Wall Street Money Trust had to act fast with the full support of Reagan’s White House and Thatcher’s Downing Street to use the CIA and MI-6 to overthrow the Buhari and to bring in Gen Babangida.

Of course, we didn’t need more debates to know that one of the agendas of bringing in Babangida was to fully implement Wall Street banks’ designed draconian structural adjustment policies and accompanying austerity conditionalities which the IMF was handed to systematically impose on all debtor nations so that these countries could save most of their scarce foreign exchange earnings to service their phony debts to these banks.
Now that we have discovered that there was no way $12bn would have been moved out of our country’s treasury in such a democratic environment without full-fledged investigations and public debates, it is time to fully probe why the $12bn was transferred out of the country without legislative authorization which should have been accompanied with an Act of Parliament. Were our lawmakers too bribed to look the other way, should form part of the probe.
Not only if the transfer was best option at that, but also who acted as intermediaries and consultants in the process of the transfer, and accompanying fees of between 3.0 percent and 5.0 percent ($360million and $600million) that should have been charged in effecting the $12bn transfer. Okonjo-Iweala should during the probe, be questioned to tell who were the consultants and who got the fees; if she did not was it because would it be because she never requested or she was offered but she rejected.

The probe should demand that she tells Nigerians what made Obasanjo to suddenly and unceremoniously move her to foreign ministry. Should Obasanjo’s action be a way of giving her a smooth landing rather than sack her. It’s time Obasanjo and Okonjo-Iweala told Nigerians what really led to her being removed from finance ministry unceremoniously notwithstanding that it’s powerful friends of Obasanjo in both Washington and London that recommended her as finance minister.

Unless Nigerians know what why Ms. Okonjo-Iweala spent most of first ‘home’ return to push for the $12bn transfer to Wall Street rogues, it would be difficult to fully understand the secret behind her second ‘home’ return. Should the probe examine the current state of Nigeria’s economy in comparison with how it was before her second return, Nigerians would have been shocked by the amount of damage the economy has been subjected by her.

At least, the probe would have demanded: Why should national debt at $37bn (N5.5tn) in June 2011 when she returned as the finance ministry balloon to $65.25bn (10.16tn) by March 2014, with federal government’s domestic portion of the debt dangerously N7.18tn ($55.29bn)?

If besides being far cheaper for government to borrow externally it reduces reduce on the credit market by making more money cheaply available to the real sector of the economy, why should the country’s domestic to external debt ratio be 80:20 when 60:40 is the internationally accepted minimum ratio?
If borrowing domestically is far more expensive than external borrowing, if we can’t print naira to offset the increasingly expensive to maintain domestic debt, then, she should explain to us makes domestic borrowing more advantageous than foreign borrowing.

If it’s not another Wall Street scam, who else are the real beneficiaries of our domestic borrowing at as high as 14 percent with unheard-of N591bn in 2013 and N712bn budgeted in 2014 for servicing such expensive debt, which if borrowed at as low as 3.0 percent from competitive international money markets, would have saved us over three-fifths in debt servicing?

Why should she continue to refuse increasing the country’s external borrowing to invest in infrastructure which should grow the economy by lowering the cost of doing business, especially since externally loans are not only more attractive because they are far cheaper but also because they makes free more money to the real sector firms who needed it most to grow their businesses and create jobs?

Despite our unhealthy low debt-to-GDP ratio which with our rebased GDP at $510bn now stands at 12.79 percent why is she insisting that Nigeria should not borrow to fix its crumbling (power, roads, rails, airports, hospital and education) infrastructure, when our economic peers with more advanced infrastructure have higher debt-to-GDP ratios such as South Africa with 43 percent, Brazil with 65.5 percent, India with 67.57 percent?

If not another externally led by Okonjo-Iweala, what explanation should she have for wanting us to diversify the economy while at the same time refusing in the absence of tax revenues to borrow to address the infrastructure deficit which drastically reducing cost of doing business in Nigeria, would have grown and diversified the economy with millions of jobs?

With the probe of the $12bn revealing the agenda of her second return, Nigerians should have come to terms that why our tax policy has become non-expansive and non-aggressive under her watch is to ensure that with deficit skyrocketing so should domestic debt which benefits international and local speculators (who borrow around the world at about 3.5 percent to lend to us at about 14 percent) skyrocket.

It is important that the probe takes into account why she recently received the so-called ”David Rockefeller Bridging Leadership Award,” deceptively called ”her capacity to deliver on the economy and

lead a difficult environment;” the same Rockefeller that benefited most from the $12bn transferred in 2006 to the so-called Paris Club of creditors, which David Rockefeller indisputably remains its chairman at large.

What an irony that the finance minister, not the president who appointed her, should be showered with such an award! Did she get the award for running down our economy in such a way that grows unemployment, displaces small businesses, hands annually billions of dollars to fuel imports, spends over 80 percent of budget on recurrent, increases overseas health tourism, and above all, turns us into international financial speculators’ den?

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