Atiku Abubakar, presidential candidate of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), says the President Muhammadu Buhari administration “lacks the critical competencies” to initiate and implement innovative solutions to Nigeria’s problems.

At the weekend, Moody’s had downgraded Nigeria’s credit rating from B3 to Caa1, saying the government’s fiscal and debt position was expected to continue to deteriorate.

Abubakar, reacting to Moody’s rating in a statement on Monday, said the downgrade was “very significant”, the Cable News reports.

He said the Buhari-led administration is to be blamed for the downgrade.

“Moody’s notes the FGN’s deteriorating fiscal and debt position and its lack of capacity to respond to same; it notes the ‘exacerbating policy trading-off’ between debt servicing and the financing of critical sectors, including education, health, and other social programmes; it also notes the government’s inability to curtail its addiction to deficit financing and its appetite for more funds from the central bank’s ways and means,” he said.

“All three observations are a direct indictment of the country’s political leadership for its failures in the management of our fiscal resources. The APC-led government lacks the critical competencies to initiate and implement innovative solutions to our problems and deliver on their mandate with the desired impact.”

Abubakar said if elected as president, he would act differently and change the economic direction of the country for the better.

He pledged to “undertake far-reaching fiscal restructuring to improve liquidity and the management of our fiscal resources”.

“Among others, I will undertake an immediate review of government spending with a view to eliminating all leakages arising from subsidy payments.

“Second, I will stop all fiscal support to ailing and under-performing state-owned enterprises.

“Third, I will take steps to improve spending efficiency by gradual reduction of government recurrent expenditures.

“Fourth, I will undertake a review of government procurement processes to ensure value-for-money and eliminate all leakages.

“Finally, I will focus on non-debt financing by promoting a private sector-led infrastructure development fund for the financing and delivery of key infrastructure projects.”