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Opinions - October 29, 2022

Nigeria Can Fix its Huge Debt Crisis – Access Bank Chair

Contrary of concerns, Access Bank Plc Chairman Mrs. Dere Awosika believes Nigeria can fix its huge debt burden. She spotlights the Federal Government can solve the debt crisis if it leverages the vast resources in the country.

Nigeria’s huge debt increased from N41.60 trillion as of March 2022 to N42.84 trillion as of June of the same year. The rise brought an increase of N1.24tn in three months, according to the Debt Management Office.

Nigeria is Africa’s top producer of gas and oil is Nigeria. Between 2015 and 2019, the nation produced about 2 million barrels per day.

Asides from petroleum, Nigeria’s natural resources range from natural gas, tin, iron ore, coal, limestone, niobium, lead and zinc. 

Speaking at the 22nd NECCI Public Relations Round-table in Lagos, Awosika claimed that Nigeria could earn enough money from its abundant natural resources to pay its huge debt and fund the budget.

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A change in narrative  

Speaking on the theme of, ‘Danger of a Single Story: Communication and Reputational Crisis in Africa’, Awosika stated that the elements of poverty, corruption, and disease are frequently brought up when discussing about the African continent 

She remarked, “It is high time we sat down to reflect on our journey so far. 

Fill the loopholes with acts of good governance and stand against all things that are contrary to our culture and value and forge ahead for  a better Nigeria and better Africa.”

Awosika said that Nigeria’s image in the world needed to be changed and said that “we can recreate the story by constructing a resilient system that is transparent and productive.”

Africa continuously tagged as a backward continent 

Africa has long been considered a backward continent due to the fact that it was one of the last to experience the benefits of civilisation.

Despite having abundant natural resources, Africa is one of the world’s poorest continents. Africa has consistently lagged significantly behind other continents in both economic wealth and human capital.

African nations have had economic, political, and social growth setbacks due to corruption. It is a significant obstacle to economic growth, decent governance, and fundamental liberties like the right to free speech and the ability of the people to hold their governments accountable.

Beyond this, corruption has an impact on the health of people, families, and communities.

The public believes that the police are the most corrupt institution. Unsurprisingly, the highest prevalence of bribery in Africa is constantly among the police. 

Other government services with high bribery rates include utilities like power and water as well as identifying documents like licences and passports.

Other speakers at the event 

Nkechi Ali-Balogun, the convener of the NECCI Roundtable, also spoke and claimed that the perception of Africa as an impoverished, corrupt, and violent continent had hindered her career on a worldwide scale.

She remarked, “Africa as the next global frontier needs to tell her stories and tell it well. 

“Africa has lived under the burden of political, economic and social conspiracies by world powers to the extent that Africans no longer believe in themselves and seek validation from a people who ordinarily should be looking towards them for survival. Afro-pessimism has eaten into the very fabric of our existence as a people and a continent.”

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