SERAP Wants World Bank to Halt Loans to Nigeria
By Adedapo Adesanya
The Socio-Economic Rights and Accountability Project (SERAP) has written to the World Bank to suspend issuing loans to Nigeria’s 36 states over allegations of mismanaging public funds which may include loans obtained from the institution.
In the letter dated November 25, 2023, the group specifically wants the bank’s President, Mr Ajay Banga, “to promptly, transparently and effectively conduct an investigation into the spending of loans and other facilities by the country’s 36 state governors and to suspend any loans and funding if there is relevant admissible evidence of mismanagement or diversion of public funds by any of the states.”
It also asked the Bretton Wood institution to “suspend further applications for loans and any other funding to the 36 states until these states can satisfactorily explain details of spending of loans and other facilities obtained from the bank and its partners.”
This was disclosed in a statement on Sunday by SERAP deputy director, Mr Kolawole Oluwadare.
“The World Bank and its partners cannot continue to give loans and other funding to these states where there are credible allegations of mismanagement or diversion of public funds,” the statement read.
“We are concerned that there is a significant risk of mismanagement or diversion of funds linked to the bank’s investments in many of the country’s 36 states. It is neither appropriate nor responsible lending to give loans to these states only for the loans to be misspent.”
Citing data from Nigeria’s Debt Management Office (DMO), the group said the total public debt portfolio for the country’s 36 states and the Federal Capital Territory is N9.17 trillion. It also said the federal government’s total public debt portfolio is N78.2 trillion.
SERAP also urged the global lender’s chief to demand expressed commitment from Nigeria’s 36 governors to address credible allegations of mismanagement or diversion of public funds in their states.
Business Post found that Nigeria owes the International Development Association (IDA) about $14 billion and the International Bank for Reconstruction and Development (IBRD) about $485 million. Both are under the World Bank Group.