A former Governor of the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) and a former Emir of Kano, Sanusi Lamido Sanusi, has called on the federal government to stop subsidising power and fuel consumption in order to put the economy on a sustainable fiscal path.
He also warned the government against excessive borrowing, describing it as a time-bomb.
Sanusi said this on Tuesday at his Diamond Jubilee celebration where he launched his book and also commenced the HHMS11 SDG challenge, a United Nations initiative of which he chairs the advisory council.
Also speaking at the event, the Governor of the Central Bank of Nigeria(CBN) Mr. Godwin Emefiele, pledged that the central bank and the Bankers’ Committee would raise $2 million in five years to support his drive towards supporting the girl child.
Sanusi while speaking on the state on the Nigerian economy said: “Nigerians have to understand that the way we run the state is unsustainable we cannot continue subsidising fuel, we cannot continue subsidising power. It is desirable, but not sustainable but we have to be ready to make certain sacrifices.
“But if we don’t make those sacrifices now and set a fiscal position for government so that we are not relying on excessive borrowing, we are placing the future of this country in jeopardy.”
He argued that the federal government has become so dependent on borrowing to the detriment of the future generation.
“This generation will continue borrowing to consume while passing the debt to the next generation to pay. It is difficult decision to pass but we have to pass it. Because if we don’t make it and you keep giving Nigerians everything they want today, at the end of the day you will leave the country on time bomb.
“These decisions have to be taken to put this country on the path of fiscal sustainability and we all have to make these sacrifices and we have to stop relying on the government for everything,” he added.
Sanusi who is also the chair of the advisory council of 1 million teachers, a United Nations sustainable development goal said proceeds from his book launch and all funds raised would all go to the initiative.
“Those who know me know that in many ways I am passionate about issues around women and girls. Out of all the United Nations sustainable goal, if you’ve asked me which goal has the greatest impact for dealing with development issues, it would be educating the girl child,” he added.
He also spoke about his new book, saying, “Not many people know that between June 1995 and June 1996, I was in Sokoto prison as a threat to national security under General Abacha. Many of the articles in this book started after that experiment because when you are a direct victim of the injustice of the system, you experience it in the manner that people who would read about it do not. “
Emefiele, whilst noting that the government does not have the capacity to do everything, assured that the banks under the umbrella of the Bankers’ Committee as well as members of the Coalition Against COVID-19 (CACOVID) would be making contributions to support the initiative.
He said: “We should indeed not wait for government to do everything. Indeed government does not have the money to do everything, and what is being done today is to play a role in improving the education of the girl child.
“Given the responsibility to raise at least $2 million in five years and i dare say that five years is too long. We would do our best to ensure we raise more than $2 million. At the Bankers’ Committee, we did deliberate on this subject and the bankers would contribute substantially to this project.”
Also, in his opening remarks, the Managing Director of Access Bank Plc, Herbert Wigwe, who is also the Chairman of Body of Bank CEOs, said: “ Sanusi for his 60th decided to gift to Nigeria with something that he was going to work tirelessly on – one of the SDGs – and that is the one that has to do with making quality education accessible for all, promotion of lifelong learning and more importantly around gender equality.”