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Labour Berates FG Over Rising Debt Profile

August 24, 2014

Taiwo Ogunmola

The Trade Union Congress of Nigeria (TUC) has cautioned the federal government to check its resort to foreign loans before the future of Nigeria is once again mortgaged to foreign creditors.

In a statement issued in Lagos and signed by its president, Comrade Bobboi Bala Kaigama, the TUC expressed worry that while Nigeria celebrated with fanfare the external debt exit in 2005 under the regime of President Olusegun Obasanjo, by December 2010, the external debt portfolio had risen to $4.78 billion.

"So, if the foreign debt regime now stands at $9.38 billion, it follows that external debt profile has risen by about $5 billion, that is about 100% in less than four years.

"This is very unfortunate more-so when the impact of the foreign loans are not being positively felt by the generality of the citizens.

"Nobody should be carried away by the argument that the country's debt stock is still less than 26% of GDP, the so-called international standard. The fact of the matter is that the country went through hell when its debt stock was about $35 billion. We should, therefore, be concerned that we are going back to where we were before," the statement added.

According to the Labour Centre, although the DMO stated that part of the loan was injected into the power sector, there is nothing on ground to show that electricity supply has improved because by May 2014, the minister of power, Professor Chinedu Nebo ,stated that Nigeria was generating 3,800mw for about 170 million population whereas experts estimate that Lagos State alone needs about 15,000mw.

The TUC president also faulted the claim by the director-general of the DMO, Dr. Nwankwo, that part of the loan was also used to finance roads including Abuja International Airport Road that has not been completed for years.

He urged the Trade Union movement, the civil society groups, and other well-meaning Nigerians to rise up and ensure that the federal government stops further foreign borrowing forthwith.

"We also demand that the federal government should curtail unnecessary expenditure, prune down the obscene emoluments of political office holders, and block other leakages through which billions of naira are looted from the treasuries," he said.

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Source: AllAfrica

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