The United Labour Congress (ULC) has urged the Senate to reject the Federal Government’s request to borrow $2.78 billion and $87 million to refinance existing foreign debts.
The labour body said the loan request was unacceptable to it, and did not make economic sense at this time.
ULC in a statement by its President, Joe Ajaero, said this year’s budget was predicated on a crude oil benchmark of about $55, but the international price of oil is above $80 per barrel.
“We are worried that the Federal Government is in such a hurry to plunge the nation back into debt trap, which our nation worked assiduously under the leadership of former President Olusegun Obasanjo to escape.
“We remember that we had to pay over a whooping U$12 billion in one fell swoop to enable us exit the stranglehold of the debt regime. That huge fund would have helped this nation expand its infrastructural base, but debt repayment took them all.
“ULC is deeply worried that our debt profile is increasing and burgeoning at an alarming proportion especially wt hen it is remembered that in just three years our debt profile has grown to nearly U$30 billion and is still increasing just like the amount being requested for approval by the Federal Government.”
Ajaero said labour was worried that this scenario was already beginning to play out, as the nation was borrowing U$87million to refinance its debt, meaning that it could not internally generate requisite income to pay interests on its foreign loan portfolio.
“Our leaders seem focused on eating down the resources that would be available for the future generation. We must as a nation remember that the present generation does not actually own Nigeria, but that we borrowed it from the future generation,” the union said.