Financial consultant, Mr. Tilewa Adebajo, has criticised the Senate for secretly approving former President Muhammadu Buhari’s request to securitise Nigeria’s Ways and Means advances. Adebajo pointed out that this action essentially transforms Nigeria’s substantial Ways and Means indebtedness into further loans in the form of bonds and other securities. He explained, “Securitisation means the government now issues treasury bills and bonds to pay off the ways and means.”
Adebajo raised concerns over the fact that the Ways and Means, originally intended not to exceed N1 trillion, has now surpassed N30 trillion, a violation of Section 38 of the Central Bank of Nigeria Act. According to Section 38, the Central Bank is authorised to borrow from the government, but this overdraft should not exceed five per cent of the government’s revenue from the previous year. Adebajo emphasised that the Senate’s approval of the securitisation of ways and means was improper.
The financial expert voiced his apprehension during the Audit Reporting Training organised by the FrontFoot Media Initiative on October 25-26, 2023, at the GulfView Hotel in Ikeja GRA. He warned that this action would exacerbate Nigeria’s indebtedness, especially as it was conducted secretly without being listed in the Senate Order Paper.
Adebajo underscored the gravity of the situation, stating, “Ways and means financing is now 30 times more than is legally allowed. Securitisation of ways and means is an illegal act. Nigeria’s deficit is increasing annually, with ninety-five percent of Nigeria’s revenue going toward debt servicing.”
While acknowledging that regular citizens may have limited influence in deterring the spendthrift direction of the Federal and State governments, Adebajo urged the media and professional groups to play a more active role in denouncing misconduct and misguided policies. He noted, “Unfortunately, the citizen is too busy struggling with survival. The key responsibility falls on the media and the elite. The elite have compromised, and the media are not pulling their weight.”
Adebajo urged citizens to be more vigilant regarding Nigeria’s financial management and to scrutinise budgets and audited accounts. He emphasised the importance of comparing budget projections with actual outcomes in terms of revenue, expenditures, and targets.