Why we opposed FG’s plan to borrow $29.96bn – NLC explains

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According to reports, the Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC) said it will not support the plan by the Federal Government to borrow more money from anywhere as the country obviously has enough burden to contend with.

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The government plans to borrow $29.96billion externally.

The NLC at its National Executive Council (NEC) meeting at the weekend in Sokoto if the government vigorously pursues those in possession of the nation’s collective wealth, especially multinationals who have refused to remit funds meant for the country, it would have enough to rejuvenate the economy and the quality of the lives of the people.

The President of NLC, Ayuba Wabba, said NEITI has already been quoted to have discovered that $22billion has not been remitted by multinational firms into the Federation Account.

He noted that this amount alone can take care of some of the areas any new loan is expected to be expended on.

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“If we must borrow, perhaps such borrowings, on terms strictly not against our collective interests and in particular not designed to deepen our debt burden, it should be directed towards revitalising rail transportation and roads and not for servicing remuneration or tastes of public office holders. Loans must have specific targets in public interest and strictly directed to their original uses; that is if we must take any at all”, he said.

The Federal Government says that within the next three years, it plans to borrow $29.96 billion from the World Bank, African Development Bank, and Japan International Co-operation Agency (JICA).

The other international financial agencies it plans to borrow the money from are Islamic Development Bank (IDB) and China EximBank.

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The labour leader said the congress equally opposed to the idea of giving public funds to bail out commercial banks or interests, especially the recent proposal to give out $7 billion as bail out funds to commercial banks without any repayment schedule whatsoever.

He noted that while the workers supported the need for budget reform, government must ensure that the process is all inclusive, transparent, accountable and in line with the principle of good governance.

Labour emphasised the importance of government to be very careful with the process of economic reforms and development, stating that it has become clearer around the world that neo liberal prescriptions handed to troubled economies has not been of any help but rather further unleashed mass poverty and infrastructural decay on recipient countries and their citizens.

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Wabba said, “The prescriptions only generate massive wealth for the tiny few rich while devastating the quality of lives of the citizens. Indeed, a prominent report by Forbes has alarmed that “unless it changes, capitalism will starve humanity by 2050”.

“We should not be seen to be accepting alien economic recovery policies that have been proven to be responsible for our problems in the first instance as all previous prescriptions from the Breton Woods institutions have only ended up destroying our economy and impoverishing our people.”

The NLC President said that Nigeria rather have enough intellectual capacity that can develop people driven policies that is truly rooted in her specific circumstance for the recovery of our economy.

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