By Victor Young
Organised Labour has raised the alarm over the nation’s rising debt profile, saying there is the urgent need for the country to give in to well structured public loans that will be only for projects of utmost national importance.
Labour contented that revenues accruable from such projects will be able to repay the loans without saddling coming generations with the irredeemable debt burden.
President of Association of Senior Civil Servants of Nigeria, ASCSN, ASCSN, Bobboi Kaigama, while speaking at the union’s National Executive Council, NEC, meeting in Abeokuta, Ogun State, said “it was a thing of joy when it was announced more than a decade ago that Nigeria had exited her huge debt burden blamed for the country’s arrested development and progress at the time. Consequently, Nigerians were able to heave a sigh of relief and look forward to a new era of accelerated progress and development devoid of any heavy debt burden.
Unfortunately, the latest Report from the Debt Management Office (DMO) putting Nigeria’s total public debt at $81.27 billion as at the end of March 2019 is indeed worrisome. According to the DMO, the external debt that stood at $10.32 billion in June 2015 rose to $25 billion by March this year, an increase of $15.3 billion. As if that was not enough, Nigeria had just received $3 billion from the World Bank to fix its power sector in addition to $2.4 billion it borrowed from the same bank last year while over $5 billion is also being sought from China for railway projects. The situation at the State level is not different as the domestic debt of the 36 States and the FCT (Abuja) as at the end of March 2019 stood at N3.792 trillion ($10.53 billion) according to the same Report by the DMO.
“It is indeed saddening that these debts pile up has really affected the country in no small way as the huge chunk of the Annual Budget is now set aside for debt servicing. This has impacted negatively on the nation as the country is reeking with abandoned projects and a dearth of infrastructural facilities. This is also compounded by the fact that it is now increasingly difficult to meet up with servicing this debt. There is, therefore, the urgent need for the country to give in to well structured public loans that will be only for projects of utmost national importance and for which expected revenues accruable from such projects will be able to repay the loans without saddling coming generations with the irredeemable debt burden.”