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*How Nigeria’s Trillions & $44b Public Debts Are Pocketed By Top Public Officers & Criminals (Part 1)
A Research-Statement By Intersociety Nigeria
(Onitsha- Nigeria, 3rd September 2012)-In 2007, Nigeria’s total debt stocks, both domestic and foreign, came down to about $16.5Billion from over $46Billion in 2005. While domestic debt remained at about $13Billion (N1.8trillion, using an exchange of N140.00 per US Dollar), foreign debt was heavily rescheduled downwards to about $3.5Billion from its all time high of $36Billion in 2005, thanks to the sagacity of Dr. Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala, who led the country out of the external debt burden with the payment of a whopping sum of $12Billion to liquidate the debt of $18Billion. Nigeria’s external foreign exchange reserves as at that time was $60Billion excluding $20Billion in the excess crude oil account. But as at July 2012, the country’s excess crude oil balance and foreign reserve accounts have been depleted to $6.9Billion and $36.93Billion respectively. Globally, as of July 2012, China’s foreign exchange reserves had risen to $3Trillion from $2.3Trillion in 2010 and $700Billion in 2006; the Country of Taiwan under this same period (July 2012) had $391Billion; Brazil $376Billion; South Korea $312.3Billion; Hong Kong $294Billion; Singapore $243Billion; and Indonesia $106Billion (WIKIPEDIA 2012). It is important to point out that Nigeria’s Gross Domestic Product in 1965 was far ahead of those of Taiwan, Malaysia, Singapore, South Korea and Indonesia. For instance, in 1965, Nigeria’s GDP was $5.8Billion whereas those of Indonesia and Malaysia were $3.8Billion and $3.1Billion respectively (source: National Open University of Nigeria 2004). The last time Nigeria recorded federal budget surplus was in 1997 during the Abacha’s inglorious epoch when N37Billion budget surplus was recorded. From the 1999 budget till date including the draft 2013 budget of N4.929Trillion (about $31,5 Billion, using an exchange rate of N155.00 per US Dollar), it has been budget deficits or “loans for budget execution” all through.
Today, as at March 2012, Nigeria’s total debt profile, both domestic and foreign, had risen to N6.8Trillion or $44Billion, out of which domestic debts accounted for N5.96 Trillion or $38.3Billion(DMO 2012),from N1.8Trillion or about $13Billion in 2007, while the foreign aspect increased to N919Billion or $5.9Billion from about $3.5Billion(about N495Billion) in 2007. Apart from the foreign debts where the36 States and the FCT have a share of over $2Billion, the N5.96 Trillion domestic debt is solely owed by the Federal Government on behalf of 160 million Nigerians. From records available to Intersociety, the least owing State in Nigeria, domestically, owes at least N2Billion, whether as “loans” or “credit facilities”. While few States such as Anambra have refused to be loan-ridden, many others like Imo and Abia have local debts overhang of over N100Billion and N50Billion respectively. Lagos State also maintains a heavy burdensome foreign debt of over $790Million or about N118Billion and undisclosed domestic debts believed to be running into tens of billions of Naira. Though most of the 36 States in Nigeria shrouded their domestic loans’ status in secrecy, but our findings indicate that 70% of these States owe between N20Billion and N150Billion each to the local lending institutions with very hash borrowing conditions including high interest rates and penalties. ( Continues below..... )
Photo Above: Map and Flag of Nigeria
Nigeria’s budget policies have remained crudely stagnated and one of the most fraudulent, anti development and anti people in the world. A careful study of the country’s national budget policies sadly shows that 70% to 80% of the annual budgets have consistently been stomached by less than 0.5% of the country’s population particularly the 17,500 top elected and appointed public officers in the country, in the form of “recurrent expenditures”(personnel and overhead costs). There are 13,500 top elected public officials in Nigeria with the 774LGAs (local government areas) accounting for roughly 92% or 12,788, comprising 8,692 LGAs councilors and 3,096 LGAs executives. And there are 4,000 top appointed public officials in the country, bringing the total to 17,500 top public officers managing Nigeria’s public affairs. Further break down shows that there are 1,152 State lawmakers, 469 Federal lawmakers, 72 elected State executives and two elected Federal executives, bringing the total to 1,695 elected State and Federal lawmakers and executives. In the area of top Federal and State appointed public officials in the country, there are 2,592 top State appointed executives, 470 Federal appointed executives and 934 top Federal and State judicial officers, bringing the total to 3,996.There are approximately 24,165 inferior and unconstitutional public aides in Nigeria recruited by the 17,500 top elected and appointed public officials recognized in the Salaries & Allowances amended Act of 2008.Despite the fact that the Act in quote as well as the Constitution of Nigeria 1999 as amended, does not recognize these inferior public aides, their sustenance under “allowance pay” has continued to be borne by Nigeria’s lean public wealth. Between N15Billion and N20Billion is spent annually to maintain these 24,165 inferior public aides. The 12,788 LGA top officials in Nigeria hire about 13,000 inferior aides in the form of “personal assistants” with average monthly “allowance pay” scale of N20, 000/N30, 000 per “PA”. Average of one “PA” is attached to one LGA official.
Further, the 2,664 State executives including the country’s 72 governors and deputies hire about 6,000 inferior aides called “senior special assistants”, “special assistants”, “executive assistants” and “personal assistants” with average monthly “allowance pay” scale of N100,000 each, on the premise of two aides per State executive. The 1,152 State lawmakers in the country hire about 2,300 inferior aides called “special assistants” and “personal assistants” with monthly “allowance pay” for each of them ranging from N50, 000 to N100.000. Average of two aides is attached to one State lawmaker. The 472 federal executives including the President and the Vice President hire 960 inferior aides called “ senior special assistants”, “special assistants”, “executive assistants” and “personal assistants” with monthly “allowance pay” ranging from N100,000 to N300,000 for each aide. Average of two inferior aides is attached to a federal executive.The 469 federal lawmakers hire about 950 inferior aides called “senior special assistants”, “executive assistants”, “special assistants” and “personal assistants” with monthly “allowance pay” ranging from N50, 000 to N150.000 per aide. Average of two inferior aides is attached to a federal lawmaker. The 934 Federal/State top judicial officers (justices and judges) hire about 950 inferior aides with monthly “allowance pay” ranging from N50, 000 to N150, 000. Usually, average of one inferior aide is attached to a top judicial officer, but in the case of CJN, CJs, Grand Kadis and Presidents of the Customary Court of Appeal, average of two inferior aides is attached to each of them.
According to the Vanguard Newspaper of June 7, 2010, “over 60% of the N31Trillion spent between 2006 and 2010 fiscal years went for recurrent expenditures, out of which N10Trillion was spent to sustain the 17,500 top Nigerian elected and appointed public officials”. Also N12Trillion went for the execution of capital projects and debt servicing, while the remaining N9trillion was spent on overheads and other public/civil servants in the country. Out of the N12Trillion said to have been spent on capital expenditures and debt servicing, over N2Trillion went for debt servicing. This means that only N9Trillion was spent on the execution of capital projects that service Nigeria’s 160million population including her 17,500 top public officials. In the 2010 and 2011 fiscal years, for instance, over N1.1Trillion was spent on Nigeria’s debt servicing particularly on her local debts. In the 2012 budget of N4.877Trillion, a whopping sum of N559.6Billion was earmarked for debt servicing. Nigeria, according to Dr. Ngozi Okonjo- Iweala and the Vanguard Newspaper (11th August 2012),” has made a total budgets of N32.24Trillion between 2005 and 2013”, a period of eight years, yet they have substantially remained “budgets of intestine”, feeding fat less than 1% of the population and starving the remaining 99% of the Nigerian population(160m). The breakdown shows that in 2005, the Federal budget was N1.8Trillion; 2006 N1.9Trillion; 2007 N2.3Trillion; 2008 N3.58Trillion; 2009 N3.76Trillion; 2010 N4.61Trillion; 2011 N4.484Trillion; 2012 N4.877Trillion; and 2013 N4.929Trillion(draft) with a projected revenue of N3.891Trillion and revenue deficit of over N1trillion earmarked for the 2013 draft budget. ( Continues below..... )
Photo Above: Nigeria Finance Minister Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala
Further, out of the 2012 budget of N4.877Trillion, only N1.3Trillion was earmarked for capital expenditure, with additional N200Billion from the oil subsidy removal proceeds making the total N1.5Trillion. Sadly and shocking too, only N404Billion or 31% had been released for the execution of capital projects as of the end of July 2012 whereas releases for recurrent expenditure were at over 70%. Nigeria has the lowest public service productivity index in Africa, and by extension, in the whole world. Four out of every five Nigerian public/civil servants are pathologically lazy, unproductive and fraudulent. The job satisfaction index among them is very low and the culture of wealth accumulation is very high. An average Nigerian public/civil servant aspires at all costs to be an expensive property and estate owner, and lives far above his or her income. This explains why the country’s budgets have substantially remained oil, gas and deficit (loan)-based. While oil & gas contributes to 95% of Nigeria’s foreign exchange earnings, it contributes 80% to the country’s annual budgets. In the 2011 budget of N4.484Trillion, a whopping sum of N852Billion was borrowed to finance the budget. In the 2012 fiscal year, N744Billion was borrowed to finance the revenue shortfalls in the year’s budget of N4.877Trillion and in the incoming 2013 draft budget of N4.929Trillion; another whopping sum of N727Billion has been earmarked for borrowing to make up the expected revenue shortfalls. This is in spite of enormous revenue potentials including availability in enormous commercial quantity of roughly 33 solid mineral deposits in the country. ( Continues below..... )
Photo Above: Disgraced and Jailed Delta State Governor, James Ibori
It is rudely shocking and disbelieving that the staggering sum of over N1.15Trillion is spent annually on 17,500 Nigerian public managers including their over 24,000 inferior aides, whereas less than 30% of the entire budget is merely allocated for the maintenance of the 160 million Nigerians through the provision and maintenance of critical infrastructures and other social amenities. According to the Nigeria’s Salaries & Allowances amended Act of 2008, N1, 13Trillion is spent on the 17,500 Nigerians annually with over 90% going into allowance packages. Before the 2008 amendment of the Act, N755Billion was spent annually to service these 17,500 top Nigerians. Out of this whopping sum of N1,15Trillion, N592Billion is spent on 12,788 LGAs’ top officials; N300Billion is spent on 2,664 State executives; N98.3Billion is spent 472 federal executives; and N60.4Billion is spent on 469 federal lawmakers excluding the whopping sum of N100Billion spent annually on the so called “constituency projects”. For the 1,152 State lawmakers, N40.9Billion is spent on them; N18.5Billion is spent on 792 State top judicial officers; and N14.8Billion is spent on 142 top federal judicial officers.
Apart from this huge public expenditure on the 17,500 top public managers in Nigeria with their over 24,000 inferior aides, many, if not most of them, both past and present have stolen roughly $500billion from the country’s public coffers since 1960. From 1995 when the total stolen wealth was put at $55Billion, it increased to $60Billion in 1999 and quadrupled to $250Billion in December 2006 (Ribadu & EFCC 2007). Malam Nuhu Ribadu and the World Bank also believe that $380Billion and $300Billion respectively had been stolen by Nigerian political criminals between 1960 and 2006. We at Intersociety believe that over $500Billion had been stolen between 1960 and August 2012. The stealing has become a habitual practice in Nigeria’s public governance.
The Part Two of this research-statement is being worked on and will be released in coming days.
1. Emeka Umeagbalasi, Chairman, BOT. International Society for Civil Liberties & the Rule of Law, Nigeria
2. Comrade Justice Ijeoma, Head, Publicity Desk
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