The Civil Society Legislative Advocacy Centre (CISLAC) has questioned the Federal Government over the World Bank’s $800 million loan to the country as a palliative for the projected removal of fuel subsidies by June.
Auwal Musa-Rafsanjani, Executive Director of CISLAC, condemned the President Muhammadu Buhari administration’s casual approach toward the country’s debilitating debt situation in a statement issued on Friday.
Borrowing to fund post-fuel subsidy removal palliatives is unusual, he said adding that “if the fuel subsidy removal process has been suspended as announced by the Minister of Finance after the NEC meeting at the end of April, then the government should return the borrowed money because what are we taking the loan for?”
Fears of the government receiving another $800 million loan from the World Bank, according to Rafsanjani, send waves of worry across Nigerians’ thoughts, since Nigeria’s revenue collection in 2022 stood at N10 trillion, with a debt of almost N77 trillion.
“In 2022, Nigeria paid about N7 trillion in fuel subsidy and in 2023 from January to June when the country intends to stop paying the subsidy is N3.6 trillion so if we are paying such whopping amount of money when subsidy is removed, we should have enough savings instead of taking additional loans, we can use the subsidy funds for post fuel subsidy removal.
“As a matter of fact, we don’t need to borrow. What we need to do is to cut waste. Just recently, we all saw the aviation minister announced that he bought 10 fire fighting trucks for over 12 billon naira. Is this what we are borrowing to spend on?
“Also, we read that the Minister of Communication and Digital Economy announced the approval of 24.2 billion to provide internet facilities at airports and some institutions amongst other places. These are the things we are spending on few weeks before the end of this administration and this is unacceptable.”
The head of an anti-corruption organisation also blasted the reckless spending toward the conclusion of this administration, saying it was completely needless and a clear indicator of diversion of public monies for personal gain rather than the general good of the country.
He urged the country’s financial watchdogs to highlight all public expenditures that did not follow an adequate procurement process.
The CISLAC Executive Director said: “what’s the need for acquiring fighter trucks towards the end of an administration a position you have held for over 8 years but you find no need to acquire the trucks until the end, this is a clear sign of contracts scams that doesn’t follow due process and public interest it is simply a financial recklessness.
“And Nigeria as a nation that is so swamped up in debts we can’t afford that right now because where’s the public interest in that elephant project.
“Also the Minister of Communications have gone ahead to get an approval of FEC for N24.2bn for internet access at airports and universities but this are services that naturally should be done by service providers.”
He said that “Nigeria is already in another debt trap. Records from both national and international financial and debt institutions regarding Nigeria’s debt reveal a state in crisis.”