The Socio-Economic Rights and Accountability Project (SERAP) has urged David Malpass, World Bank President, to use his office 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.
SERAP also urged Malpass and the World Bank to reopen discussion on the reportedly approved $800 million 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, had announced its plan to spend the $800 million loan as, “part of its subsidy palliatives measures.”
Last week, President Buhari had requested the Senate’s approval for $800 million loan to finance the National Social Safety Network Programme.
Though the federal government had clarified that it was not seeking another $800 million loan from the World Bank to cushion the impact of the impending removal of petroleum subsidy on vulnerable Nigerians, SERAP in the letter dated May 13, 2023, and signed by Kolawole Oluwadare, its deputy director said the World Bank should comply with its own Articles of Agreement in disbursing any loans.
“The Bank should not sacrifice international standards in the rush to disburse the $800 million loan to the Nigerian government,” the organisation said.
Therefore, SERAP said that suspending any disbursement of the loan to the government would reduce the risks and vulnerability to corruption and mismanagement.
“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 remains unclear,” the letter read in part.
“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.”