The Nigeria Labour Congress has berated the federal government over an additional loan it was seeking from the World Bank.
The NLC said rather than getting more loans, the Federal Government should focus on the recovery of more than $100bn the international oil companies owed the country.
The labour leader, who urged government to cut down the cost of governance, was backed by an expert and Nigeria Employers Consultative Association, which cautioned the Federal Government against continuous borrowing.
Wabba made the call barely two days after the World Bank approved Nigeria’s request for $3bn loan for the expansion of the power transmission and distribution networks.
According to the Debt Management Office, the nation’s total public debt rose by N3.32tn in one year to N25.7tn as of the end of June 2019.
The federal gvernment owed N20.42tn as of June 30, 2019, while 36 states and the Federal Capital Territory had a total debt portfolio of N5.28tn.
In 2017, the revenue target was N5.08tn out of which N2.7tn was realised. The Federal Government’s revenue projection for 2018 was N7.16tn out of which only N3.96tn was achieved. In 2019, the Federal Government’s projected revenue was put at N6.98tn. As of June this year, about N2.04tn had been realised.
A quarter (N2.5trn)of the N10.3trn 2020 budget will be spent on debt servicing, while non-debt recurrent expenditure will gulp N4.88trn. Only N2.14trn was allocated for capital projects in spite of the huge infrastructural deficit in the country.
The Minister of Finance, Budget and National Planning, Mrs Zainab Ahmed, had on Thursday at the World Bank/International Monetary Fund meeting in the United States, admitted that the country was finding it difficult to service its debts.
Ahmed spoke 24 hours after the IMF advised Nigeria to increase tax to raise more revenue, saying the country needed a comprehensive reform to hike non-oil tax so as to get funds to build infrastructure.
A human rights lawyer, Femi Falana, had on Sunday asked the Federal Government not to accept additional loans from the World Bank, but recover money IOCs were owing Nigeria.
At the NLC retreat in Enugu, Wabba backed Falana, saying the Federal Government’s request for additional loans was unjustifiable.
He stated, “A few days ago, Femi Falana urged the Federal Government to reject an additional loan from the World Bank and instead pursue the payment of funds accruable to Nigeria from periodic