Lagarde visit: Be wary of IMF – TUC cautions Buhari

By The Citizen

The Trade Union Congress (TUC) has cautioned the Federal Government to be wary of the international finance organization,  the International Monetary Funds, whose Managing Director, Mrs. Christine Lagarde is on a four-day working visit to Nigeria.

The   President and Secretary General of the TUC, Messrs Bala Kaigama and Musa Lawal respectively, said in a statement on Tuesday, that the warning became necessary in view of the bitter experiences of Nigerians with the IMF in the past.

He said that the country was already in a precarious situation and would not be able to cope with the harsh conditions attached to IMF credit facilities.

The labour leaders wondered why those in charge of the leadership of the country would not address the challenges facing the country without foreign intervention.

Kaigama and Lawal said that the suggestions from the IMF and related bodies had always resulted in more suffering and the impoverishment of the citizenry.

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'This warning is informed by our bitter past experience with the financial body. Our country is already in dire straight and cannot cope with the IMF's characteristic shylock conditionalities attached to its credit facilities, and must not accept same if that is what the visit is about.

'For the umpteenth time, we wonder aloud:  Can't we solve our challenges as a nation without foreign intervention? Must the Brettonwood institutions be the ones to always determine and tell us when our economy is doing well and when to devalue the naira?

'Why must they suggest to us how our economy can be fixed, whereas their recipe has consistently tended to end up impoverishing more Nigerians than ever before?

'Why has it become so difficult to produce good and quality rice and other local products for domestic and export needs?  Since when did it become rocket science for our once functional refineries to produce at more than 30 percent of installed capacity and make petroleum products available? Etc..' The statement read in part.

The TUC leaders expressed concern that Lagarde would exploit the opportunity of her visit to attempt to sell IMF theories that would aggravate the economic situation in the country.

They noted that while the TUC was not opposed mutually beneficial relationship with the IMF and any other body, the trade union centre would 'fight any agenda inimical to the economic and other interests of the Nigerian masses.'

They lamented  that while countries that were not as developed as Nigeria in the 1970s and 1980s were making giant strides in development, Nigeria was stagnated by relying solely on oil export action.

Kaigama and Lawal warned that the congress would only accept devaluation of the Naira if the percentage of increase was commensurate with the national minimum wage.

They added that the proposed meeting between the IMF's chief and the President should result in improved business environment and the promotion of opportunities for business growth in the private sector and enhanced opportunities for job creation. – Punch.