Former Nigerian central bank governor warns of nation on verge of bankruptcy

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LAGOS, June 25 (Xinhua) -- Nigeria is on the threshold of bankruptcy following unfavorable economic policies such as subsidizing petroleum products and electricity tariffs, a former apex bank chief has said.

Speaking in northwest state of Kano on Tuesday, Muhammad Lamido Sanusi, the former central bank governor advised President Muhammadu Buhari's administration to cancel 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 a rise in interest rates, Federal Government pays," Sanusi said at a forum organized by the office of the Accountant General of the Federation.

"What is more life-threatening than subsidy is that we have to sacrifice education, health sector and infrastructure for us to have cheap petroleum," he added.

"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 said.

This is coming barely two months after a former chairman of Nigeria Governors Forum (NGF), Abdulaziz Yari, warned that Nigeria could be heading into another round of recession.

Yari warned incoming governors to be prepared for the possibility of another cycle of recession by the mid-2020 to third quarter of 2021.

Nigeria had officially entered a recession for the first time in more than two decades, in August 2016, according to figures which showed that the economy had contracted for a second consecutive quarter.

"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 the Congo will take the lead," Sanusi told his audience.

He 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. Enditem

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