The Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC) has faulted the Muhammadu Buhari-led government social intervention programmes and misapplication of foreign loans, blaming it for the recent recession suffered by the country.
Nigeria on Saturday, November 21, officially went into recession for the second time under President Buhari‘s administration, but this time, the worst since 1987.
Figures released by the National Bureau of Statistics (NBS) reveal that Nigeria is officially in a recession, with the West African country recording a contraction of 3.62 per cent in the third quarter of 2020.
This online news platform understands that the development shows that this is the second consecutive quarterly GDP decline since Nigeria’s 2016 recession. The cumulative GDP for the first nine months of 2020, therefore, stood at -2.48 per cent.
Speaking to The PUNCH in an interview, Emmanuel Ugboaja, Secretary-General of the NLC, noted that the misuse of foreign loans, insecurity and the cash giveaways in the form of TraderMoni, MarketMoni and other cash-sharing programmes by the Federal Government worsened Nigeria’s recession.
He faulted the taking of huge loans from China, stressing that the federal government needed to explore creative options.
Ugboaja said: “We have been going about managing our economy wrongly. That is the truth. We have tended to act as if we are an industrialised country when we are not. We have a huge population, we should encourage and do things that take into cognizance our youthful strength.
“Why must our construction be driven by external equipment we don’t produce when we could have achieved same using manual labour; direct labour kind of performance rather than use a machine costing N15bn to apply the same to 50,000 youths?
“Our people need to get more creative in terms of options, where we put our money. We borrow and 80 per cent of that still go back to the economy of the lender in terms of equipment and expertise. If all the borrowings we had done had been towards agriculture, it would have made more sense. We have youthful population but we are paying trillions in subsidy. Ask yourself, who is collecting it?”
Ugboaja, who granted the interview on Wednesday, noted that tradermoni and other cash giveaways by the Federal Government was a misadventure.
He said, “If we used N3trn to do roads and rail construction through direct labour in Nigeria, we would not be talking about recession. But now, what politicians are doing is giving people N5,000, That’s not the way to go.
“Let people be productive; It cannot be about TraderMoni or MarketMoni. It must be about people being paid for being productive. The government intervention programmes cannot get us out of this problem. They are parts of what got us deeper into this recession.”
“What we need to do is get people to be productive. It is not about giving them money to buy second-hand clothes to sell. That cannot be the way to spend the money you have been giving the people,” Ugboaja stated.