The Senate on Monday warned state governments not to embark on reckless borrowing of money which would enslave future generations of Nigerians.
The members of the Senate committee on local and foreign debts handed down the warning when state commissioners of finance appeared before the committee to defend the loans which they intend to get from international organizations.
The state governments have applied for loans totalling about $3.39billion while the federal government applied for a loan of $4.8 billion.
The Chairman Senate committee on local and foreign debts, Ehigie Uzamere said the senate will not give blanket approval to the states for the loans to prevent states from creating debt burdens for future generations.
“Most of the states of the federation were not seeking foreign loans for projects and programmes that would have direct impact on the lives of their people,” he said.
Mr Uzamere added that “it is very sad the way we are going in this country especially in terms of borrowing. Our children yet unborn may suffer from what they don’t know anything about. When we approve these loans, our committee will visit the states to see what the governors are doing with the loans.”
Another member of the committee, Gbenga Obadara, charged the states to align their borrowing plans with the needs of the masses.
“There is no reason for any state to over-borrow. The governors must think of people that will pay the debt in 10 years’ time. We, as lawmakers, find it difficult to see the states in debt trap. We have states seeking $100million. Their debt will continue to pile up.
“One percent of loan interest today will become very huge in 10 years’ time. We should shun reckless borrowing as much as possible. Our committee therefore advises state governors to cut their cloths according to their sizes.”
The Ondo State Commissioner for Finance, Yele Ogundipe had earlier submitted a request of $50 million request for health programmes and another $27.9m for youth employment; while his Enugu State counterpart, Ralph Nnaji, submitted a request of $50 million loan for watershed management project, $40 million for youth empowerment, $18 million and $40 million for energy project.