Senate alleges government’s insensitivity to economic hardship

Members of the Nigerian Senate at a plenary

We won’t seek debt forgiveness, says DMO

The Presidency and the Senate are heading for a face-off over the gloomy state of the country’s economy, which the legislative arm said yesterday has inflicted untold hardship on ordinary Nigerians in the past two years.

The brewing misunderstanding is coming as the Debt Management Office (DMO) told the Senate yesterday that Nigeria’s economic downturn had not reached the point of seeking debt forgiveness from creditors.

And angered by another disclosure from the DMO that Nigeria’s debt profile had risen to N17.36tr, the Senate Committee on Foreign and Local Debt at a budget defence session yesterday expressed disappointment over the alarming rate at which the country’s economic fortunes was declining.

Matters, however, got worse when the Director General of the DMO, Abraham Nwankwo, openly declared that Nigeria’s economy was still strong and doing well.

According to Nwankwo, “Nigeria’s economy is still strong. Although we may have challenges, the country’s economy has not reached the point of begging for debt forgiveness.’’

But in a swift response, Chairman Senate Committee on Foreign and Local Debt, Shehu Sani, said it was very unfortunate that at a time Nigerians were suffocating in an economic recession occasioned by galloping inflation and free fall of the Naira, some officials of government were still describing the economy as strong and vibrant.

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