On Sunday, the Socio-Economic Rights and Accountability Project (SERAP) pleaded with the World Bank to halt the $800 million loan that President Muhammadu Buhari’s administration is requesting.
The following was written in a letter dated May 13, 2023 and signed by Kolawole Oluwadare, the deputy director of SERAP: “The World Bank should abide by its own Articles of Agreement in disbursing any loans. In a hurry to provide the government the $800 million loan, the Bank shouldn’t compromise on international norms.
The group also pleaded with Mr. David Malpass, president of the World Bank, to use his “good offices to suspend any disbursement of the $800 million loan to the Federal Government and to request the incoming administration to provide satisfactory explanations for the loan.”
It also wanted Mr Malpass and the World Bank “to reopen discussion on the reportedly approved $800m loan with the incoming administration to clarify the details on the rationale and use of the loan because the term of office of the government of President Muhammadu Buhari ends in May 2023.”
The Federal Government in April announced its plan to spend the $800 million loan as ‘part of its subsidy palliatives measures’. Also, last week, President Buhari requested the Senate’s approval for the World Bank loan. It is unclear whether the request to the Senate is for a fresh loan or the one announced in April.
The letter further reads in part: “SERAP is concerned that the government is seeking to spend the loan when it has barely two weeks to leave office and when the project objectives and intended purposes for which the loan is reportedly approved and will be disbursed remain unclear.”
“The government has not satisfactorily explained or justified the need for the loan at this time, especially given the lack of clarity on its use and the crippling debt burden, and the disproportionately negative impact of these retrogressive measures on poor Nigerians.”
“The World Bank cannot close its eyes to these important transparency, 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 and to implement the other recommendations contained in this letter, and we may join the government in any such suit.”