The Emir of Kano, Muhammadu Sanusi ll, on Wednesday, faulted the present administration’s economic model, saying it would not work.
Sanusi, who spoke at the Kaduna State Economic Summit in Kaduna, the state capital, also berated northern leaders, saying the North-West and the North-East remained the poorest parts of the world.
The monarch, who spoke on the theme ‘Promoting investments in the midst of economic challenges’, said the North, as a region, constituted the highest of the nation’s population, but lacked the necessary indices for progress.
Sanusi, a former Governor of the Central Bank of Nigeria, said the Federal Government was borrowing unsustainably.
He noted that currently, Nigeria was spending 66 per cent of its revenues to pay interests on debts, saying such a model would not work.
Sanusi stated, “The Federal Government of Nigeria is spending 66 per cent of its revenues on interests on debts, which means only 34 per cent of revenues is available for capital and recurrent expenditures.
“That model cannot work. If you look at the 2017 budget of the Federal Government, I sometimes wonder what Nigerian economists are doing? In the 2017 budget presented by the Federal Government, the amount earmarked for debt servicing is in excess of the entire non-oil revenue of the Federal Government, but that is not the problem. The problem is that it is a budget that is even going for more debts.”
He wondered when the Federal Government would stop borrowing if the government was spending 66 per cent of its revenues to pay interests on debts.
The emir said government at all levels should realise that borrowing had reached its limit and should therefore look for ways to attract investments.
“Growth can only come from investments. It cannot come from consumption. It cannot come from government balance sheet. It cannot come from borrowing because you cannot borrow unsustainably,” he said.
Sanusi also faulted the Federal Government on its plan to borrow money from China.
The monarch added, “We have governors; they go to China and spend one month on a tour and what do they come back with, MoU (Memorandum of Understanding) on debts.
“China will lend you $1.8bn to build light rail. This light rail will be done by the rail workers from China. The trains will come from China. The engines will come from China. The labour comes from China. The driver is Chinese.
“At the end of the day, what do you benefit from it? Your citizen will ride on a train and when you ride on a train, in northern Nigeria, in a state like Kano or Katsina, where are you going to? You are not going to an industrial estate to work. You are not going to school? You are not going to the farm. You borrow money from China to invest in trains so that your citizens can ride on them and go for weddings and naming ceremonies.”