Liberal Mind

Every Nigerian is a 24-Karat debtor

By Adetunji Ayo-Brown

Debt is truly a millstone round debtor’s neck which can affect not only the health and wealth but is also capable of affecting the people with their contacts on the borrower’s telephone.

‘Hello, this is to report on your contact/friend for defaulting in payment of his debt owing our company. Please warn him to pay up the debt or else we are ready to take further actions against him’. Though, I was bewildered but not surprised because that was the third of such calls I received in the space of a week from different companies reporting different people whose phone number was part of the contacts on their mobile phones.

Please, take it easy and calm with him, I started pleading. Begging on behalf of the debtor, because I know the name mentioned but also aware that like my humble self, the nation’s economic downturn is affecting not only the accused but the majority of all.

Fine match with ugly, but what could probably be funnier than being Nigerian with 24-karat status. Truly, being vulnerable is being woundable, Nigeria’s high debt risk exposure is a burden that would not only affect the economy but by extension lives of almost every Nigerian

on a daily basis.

Nigeria is now officially a country with high debt risk exposure as classified by the World bank, but the nation’s burden of debts seems to be more than 24Karats in its status.

This was just after the disconcerting news that rented that airwaves which labelled every citizen as a debtor. Stating that as at the last count, every Nigerians owe the World Bank N24,000 each. With rages and angers, many are showing their displeasures, preferring less provocative titles. Nigerians’ reactions were in millions questioning the rationale behind such unknown and unexplained debts.

My latest unsolicited surprise call was no different from others like this that I received before. But with all the apology and appeals to allow him more time proved abortive as the caller went further to threatening calling his other contacts and ready the total defamation of his character.

But what could have happened, I discovered that as part of the measures, the lending company copied all contacts on the borrower’s phone in case of default in payment. And how best would I pay my own societal proverbial debt became an issue for me. But will continue appealing to lending companies to continue to assist Nigerians in this critical economic situation.

We are all disappearing into the valleys of debts. But why all Nigerians now

result in borrowing and other unwholesome acts for their family’s survival is a thing of worry. What may be the total amount at the expiration of this regime, only time will tell?

The likes of the World Bank are in business to offer concessional loans and grants to the poorest developing countries who are its members. Ours with a population of 200 million Nigerians, the unpleasant debt perfume is soaking every average Nigerians and below, turning many already impoverished citizens to a kind of public nuisance over debts.

Legacy of bad debts hidden by the supposed name. Then who knows how much every other Nigerians are owing their debtors. Except our debt profiles are underrated, at the national level every single Nigerian owes the World Bank N24,000 only but what about others. With N4.8trillion debt, our country now ranked 5th on the bank’s borrowers’ list.

No doubt, this is reflected in our lives as loans like this are bigger than what many think considering our epileptic economy status. Unbelievable, Nigeria’s $11.7billion or N4.816trillion is nearly one third of the country’s 2021 national budget, which is put at N13.6trillion.

Though Nigeria may truly be in serious need for good public infrastructure, but how funds for this are being handled seems to be feeding upon the gullibility of the masses. Nigeria is number five on a list of countries with $11.7 billion in International Development Association (IDA) debt stock.

What is the total of my Nigerian debt profile? Questions like this many citizens are asking, querying FG’s economy policy that turns most populace to beggars and debtors. Without their consents each citizen owes the World Bank only at least N24,080 in terms of per head distribution. Nigeria had borrowed $11.7 billion about N4.816 trillion made it the fifth highest borrower from the World Bank Group and among the 10 highest debt risk exposure globally

Nine over ten necessary attributes on the checklists of micro and macroeconomic indicators shows negativity too fast and for too many citizens. Befallen many now is the collective payment of the pains they wrought, and whether the regime is found wanting or worthy, the results of which indicates the country is in for a worst deal of too many debts.

Despite the best intentions? Perhaps, being the largest, ours seems to be hunted more by this vision of debts. Next to Nigeria are Ethiopia with $11.2bn, Kenya with $10.2bn, Tanzania with $8.3bn, Ghana with $5.6bn, and Uganda, $4.4bn. Imagine our world with debts everywhere, African nations should never be allowed to die under the debt burdens.

*Ayobrown is a Snr System Analyst, he can be reached via e-Mail:aayobrown@gmail.com

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