Muhammadu Sanusi, Emir of Kano State, has called on President Muhammadu Buhari to remove fuel subsidy to avoid the country going bankrupt.
The Emir, who is known for his acidic comments on national issues, said President Buhari’s economic policies are unfavourable, adding that Nigeria is on the threshold of bankruptcy.
He identified the bad economic policies of the Buhari administration to include subsidizing petroleum products, electricity tariffs and using 70 percent of the country’s revenue to service debt.
Emir Sanusi, a former Governor of the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN), made these revelations at the ongoing 3rd National Treasury Workshop organized by the office of the Accountant General of the Federation in Kano.
He advised Buhari to cancel subsidy in petroleum subsidy and electricity tariffs if the economy must stabilize.
“The country is Bankrupt and we are heading to bankruptcy. What happened is that the Federal Government do pay petroleum subsidy, pay electricity tariff subsidy, and if there is rise in interest rates, Federal Government pays.
“What is more life-threatening than subsidy that we have to sacrifice education, health sector and infrastructure for us to have cheap petroleum.
“If truly President Buhari is fighting poverty, he should remove the risk on the national financial sector and stop the subsidy regime which is fraudulent.”
He challenged President Buhari to tell Nigerians the fact about the economic situation and also act quickly on it because the nation is already bankrupt.
“Since I have decided to come here, you have to accept what I have said here. And please, if you do not want to hear the truth, never invite me.
“So let us talk about the state of public finance in Nigeria. We have a number of very difficult decisions that we must make, and we should face the reality. His Excellency, the President said in his inaugural speech that his government would like to lift 100 million people out of poverty, it was a speech that was well received not only in this country, but world-wide.
“The number of people living with poverty in Nigeria are frightening. By 2050, 85 percent of those living in extreme poverty in the world will be from the African continent. And Nigeria and the Democratic Republic of Congo will take the lead.
“Two days ago, I read that the percentage of government revenue going to debt services has risen to 70 percent.
”These numbers are not lying. They are public numbers. I read them in the newspapers. When you are spending 70 percent of your revenue on debt services, then you are managing 30 percent.
“And then, you continue subsidizing petroleum products; and spending N1.5 trillion per annum on petroleum subsidy! And then we are subsidizing electricity tariff. And maybe, you have to borrow from the capital market or the Central Bank of Nigeria to service the shortfall in the electricity tariff, where is the money to pay salaries, where is the money for education, where are other government projects.
Sanusi lamented that for 30 years, successive governments have had this project called petroleum subsidy, insisting that this is the right time to stop it so as to save the nation’s economy.