SERAP warns World Bank against $800m loan to FG

Oluwanifemi Ojo
Oluwanifemi Ojo
Socio-Economic Rights and Accountability Project

Kazeem Owoseni

A human rights organization, Socio-Economic Rights and Accountability Project has warned the World Bank to shelve the idea of disbursing the $800 million loan recently requested, to the Federal Government of Nigeria.

The group, in a letter issued on May 13, by its Deputy Director, Kolawole Oluwadare instructed the World Bank to only comply with its own Articles of Agreement in disbursing any loans.

According to the group, which has been worried about the purpose of the loan, in less than 3 weeks to the end of the current administration, the world bank’s management, can not sacrifice international standards, in a bid to disburse fresh loans to Nigeria.

The organization wondered why the Buhari administration is rushing to get another loan, when the clear intention of the loan, as well as the objective of the project to use it, and its impact on the poor citizens and economic growth and development of Nigeria, can not be ascertained.

In the letter, SERAP lamented the lack of clarity on its use, the crippling debt burden and the negative impact of the retrogressive measures on poor Nigerians.

However, the group threatens the world bank with legal action, if it goes against the rules, of engagement, to ascertain the purpose and well utilization of the, before any action.

“The World Bank cannot close its eyes to these important transparencies, accountability and human rights issues.”

“We would consider the option of pursuing legal action should the World Bank refuse to suspend the disbursement of the loan to the Federal Government.

“When the country is burdened by unsustainable debts, there will be little money left to ensure access of poor and vulnerable Nigerians to legally enforceable socio-economic rights.”

SERAP reminded the World Bank of its responsibility to ensure Nigerian authorities are accountable in discussions to obtain loans, credits or grants.

Urging the financial institution to demand a clear explanation from the incoming administration, the group reminded the institution of its responsibilities to ensure that loans and grants collected by the government, are well scrutinised and monitored to serve their original purpose.

The Buhari administration had in April announced its plan to spend the $800 million loan as part of its subsidy palliatives measures.

However, President Muhammadu Buhari, had last week, requested the approval of the Senate, in just three weeks before the end of his tenure.

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