The World Bank Board of Governors on Tuesday was set to approve another $2.5 billion loan for Nigeria barely year after disbursing $2.4 billion for Africa’s most populous nation.
Late last year, Nigeria’s reported domestic debt was already put at $55.6 billion and foreign loans at $25.6 billion.
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The Buhari administration believes that to ease the debt burden, Nigeria has to borrow more but with low interest and long repayment periods from many institutions including the World Bank and the African Development Bank.
The World Bank President David Malpass last week urged low income countries to insist on transparency when seeking to borrow money.
He said Chinese loans often have non disclosable closes that prevent low income countries’ citizens from having all the details they need for the billions being borrowed on their behalf.
But the World Bank itself often hides interest rates and repayment conditions as well as the total debt of already burdened countries to the apex bank. This publication has sought to get details of the Nigerian loan since last week, up till now, the bank has failed to provide the information.
It seems to be a difficult situation. If the World Bank refuses to lend money to Nigeria or low income countries, Chinese or the African Development Bank or other non Paris Club players will, leaving the World Bank and the IMF less and less relevant.
The money being approved today would be repaid by Nigerians yet to be born and for infrastructure perhaps never built.