The Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC) has thrown its weight behind President Muhammadu Buhari’s request to borrow about $30 billion to finance key infrastructure with a caveat that “we must not borrow to eat”.
Speaking with newsmen in Abuja, NLC President Comrade Ayuba Wabba said the idea of borrowing to build infrastructure around the world was not a bad idea, but he emphasised on accountability and transparency.
“All over the world, critical infrastructure are needed. In the case of Nigeria, one critical infrastructure that will drive development is power.
“Once we don’t get stable power supply to power industries, motivate small and medium scale enterprises, we cannot actually arrive. Therefore, it is important that we build infrastructure.
“There are two models by which we can build infrastructures and I will give you the Ethiopian model. We can open it to the public so that people can buy shares in the building of those infrastructure.
“But people can have confidence if we have a transparent system because nobody will put his money in a corrupt system. That is what helped Ethiopia. Some civil servants paid two months of their salaries and through that, they generated $10 billion to build infrastructure of power and they are going to export power…
“The fear of Nigerians is not collecting the loan. But what happens if it is misapplied or misappropriated because in the past people have borrowed money. Part of the Dasukigate is money borrowed to fund infrastructure. But at the end of the day, it ended up being shared.
“The issue is not whether it is good to borrow or not. Whatever borrowing we are going to do, let us not borrow to eat or to service other areas. Let it be dedicated to the issue of railway and power. But we can use what we generate locally to build roads.”