Port Harcourt — Organised labour under the auspices of the Trade Union Congress of Nigeria, TUC, has expressed worries over what it described as alarming rate of Nigeria’s debt profile.
TUC National President, Comrade Quadri Olaleye, said while Nigerians are yet to recover from N5.8 billion borrowed from China, the Federal Government has gone ahead to borrow more money from African Development Bank, Eurobond and others.
Olaleye disclosed it was regrettable that over 30percent of the country’s budget for 2020 would be spent on servicing debts.
“The country’s debt profile is increasing at an alarming rate. International bodies, including the World Bank have severally warned on the danger of our ceaseless borrowing.
“Besides the $29.96 billion loan which has gained the approval of the National Assembly, reports have it that the country has so far allegedly borrowed $1billion from African Development Bank; $1billion Eurobond, with additional $500million expected from Global Medium Term Note Programme.
“The N5.8billion borrowed from China EximBank is hanging on the country’s neck. Over 30 percent of the federal government’s revenue will be used for debt servicing.”
Olaleye who wondered how the continuous borrowing by the government has benefited the ordinary citizens of the country, said the political class were not in tune with the plight of the masses.
“How can we use as much as N2.7trillion to service debt and budget a paltry N2.4trillionn on expenditure? It is hard to come to terms with the position of the Information Minister, Mr. Lai Muhammed who told Nigerians that $84 billion loan is nothing to worry about. We are tempted to feel that politicians are not in tune with the plight of the masses.
“We have three arms of government that are constitutionally at par: the Executive, Legislature and Judiciary. They are supposed to check themselves but that has not been the case. Our experience so far has been an unpleasant one.
“We felt robbed when the Senate and House of Representatives leadership at various times showed indifference to the loans and other excesses of the Federal Government. In the year 2020 we expect the allegiance of politicians and all Nigerians to be to the country and not individuals, even if in power.”
TUC also urged the Federal Government and its agencies to obey the rule of law, so as not to appear unserious and a laughing stock before the international community.
“To further deepen our democratic process the Federal Government must as a matter of urgency respect the rule of law. We have not had it good lately. The idea of the Department of State Services keeping people in custody despite being granted bail by courts is uncalled for.
“The Attorney General of the Federation and Minister of Justice, Abubakar Malami, must wake up to his responsibilities. Total disregard to rights of people, lack of accountability, intimidation, indifference to the rule of law by some state and non-state actors alike is dangerous to the peaceful existence of the country.
“We call on the Cross Rivers State government to release Agba Jalingo; Kaduna and other states keeping journalists to release them. Let due process be followed so we don’t make ourselves a laughing stock before the international community.”