Nigerian activists ask World Bank to ‘tread carefully’ before disbursing $114.28 million loan to Buhari administration to fight COVID-19

Although we are headquartered in Washington D.C. USA, our reporters and editors are working around the globe to cover what you care about. We invite you to donate to our fundraiser to help us keep our quality news free and available to all.  

Nigeria’s Socio-Economic Rights and Accountability Project, (SERAP) has sent an open letter to the World Bank President Mr David Malpass, urging him to use his “good offices to encourage the Federal Government and 36 state governments to publicly commit to transparency and accountability in the spending of the $114.28m credit and grant for COVID-19, which the Bank’s Board of Directors recently approved for Nigeria, including by publishing details on a dedicated website.”

SERAP also urged Mr Malpass to “put pressure on authorities and the 36 state governors to accept voluntary scrutiny by Nigerians and civil society regarding the spending of the funds and use of the resources, including on how they will spend the money to buy medical equipment, and improve access to clean water, sanitation and hygiene.”

The World Bank Board of Directors last Friday approved a $114.28 financing “to help Nigeria prevent, detect and respond to the threat posed by COVID-19 with a specific focus on state level responses.” According to the Bank, the $100 million credit with Project ID number: P173980, is due to be paid back over 30 years, with additional 5 years grace period.

[read_more id="2" more="Read full article" less="Read less"]

In the letter dated 8 August, 2020 and signed by SERAP deputy director Kolawole Oluwadare, the organization said: “The World Bank has a responsibility to ensure that federal authorities and state governments are transparent and accountable to Nigerians in how they spend the approved credit and grant. The Bank should tread carefully in the disbursement of funds or distribution of resources to states if it is to reduce vulnerability to corruption and mismanagement.”

SERAP expressed “serious concerns that the money and resources may be stolen, diverted or mismanaged by state governors without effective transparency and accountability mechanisms, especially given increasing reports of allegations of corruption and mismanagement of COVID-19 funds by agencies of the Federal Government and state governments, and impunity of perpetrators.”

SERAP said: “Insisting on transparency and accountability would ensure repayment of the credit, and protect the project objectives and intended purposes for which the funds and resources are approved, disbursed and distributed.”

According to SERAP, “The Bank’s power to provide credits and grants is coupled with a fiduciary responsibility to ensure that governments spending such funds meet international standards of transparency and accountability, including those entrenched in the UN Convention against Corruption to which Nigeria is a state party.”

The letter copied to Shubham Chaudhuri, World Bank Country Director for Nigeria, read in part: “Implementing these recommendations would prevent a repeat of alleged diversion and mismanagement of recovered Abacha loot disbursed by the Federal Government to state governments.”

“The World Bank should make clear to all the governors that it will cancel the credit and grant should they renege on their transparency and accountability commitments to spend the money and use the resources exclusively for COVID-19 related projects, and not to steal, divert or mismanage them.”

“As the level of Federal Government monitoring of the spending of the credit and grant and use of the resources by state governors may be based on political considerations, the Bank’s influence might be the only restraining force state governors will take seriously.”

“SERAP encourages you and the World Bank in any future engagements with state governments in Nigeria to insist on accessing information on how governors are spending security votes, and the amounts of public funds states are allocating to pay former governors life pensions, among others, as well as consider the level of corruption within each state before approving any credits and grants.”

“SERAP also encourages you and the World Bank not to sacrifice international standards of transparency and accountability in the rush to provide COVID-19 credit and grant to the 36 state governments.”

“According to our information, the World Bank Board of Directors on Friday, 7 August, 2020 approved a $114.28 financing “to help Nigeria prevent, detect and respond to the threat posed by COVID-19 with a specific focus on state level responses.”

“This includes $100 million credit from the International Development Association (IDA) and $14.28 million grant from the Pandemic Emergency Financing Facility.”

“SERAP notes that the Government of Nigeria is expected to disburse the money and distribute the resources to the 36 state governments and the Federal Capital Territory (FCT) as ‘immediate support to break the chain of COVID-19 local transmission and limit the spread of coronavirus through containment and mitigation strategies.’”

“The approved money will also “help to finance federal procurements of medical equipment, laboratory tests, and medicines to be distributed to the states based on their needs, and to provide support to laboratories for early detection and confirmation; equipping and renovating isolation and treatment centers including community support centers; and improving in patient transfer systems through financing of ambulances and training.”

SERAP therefore urged Mr Malpass and the World Bank to:

Disclose and widely publish the terms and conditions of the credit and grant, and the exact amount repayable by Nigeria in 30 years’ time, including the details of the interest, if any; and the consequences of Nigeria defaulting;

Ask President Muhammadu Buhari to instruct the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) and the Independent Corrupt Practices and Other Related Offences Commission (ICPC) to jointly track and monitor spending of the credit and grant by state governments;

Ask state governments to allow the media to freely report on their spending of the funds and use of the resources, and not to clampdown on journalists and the media in the exercise of their constitutional responsibilities to expose corruption and hold governments to account;

Ask state governments to explicitly commit to encouraging and protecting whistle-blowers as a way of ensuring that the funds and resources are not stolen, diverted or mismanaged;

Clarify if, to the Bank’s knowledge and information, the credit and grant have been approved by Nigeria’s National Assembly pursuant to its constitutional duties, including its oversight functions under Section 88 of the 1999 Constitution (as amended);

Ensure increased transparency of sanctions and terms and conditions of the credit and grant to each state to enable Nigerians to ask questions as to the spending of the money and use of the resources from their state governments

[/read_more]

Today News Africa
Today News Africahttps://todaynewsafrica.com
TODAY NEWS AFRICA is registered and headquartered in Washington, District of Columbia, United States of America. Our publication is widely read, respected and influential. By providing daily answers to questions our readers have about the people, the businesses and the continent of Africa, we are reaching a diverse and wide audience from around the world. Our readers, many of them world leaders, trust us because we are independent and truthful. Our advertisers understand the difference between news, views and ads. Contact us: contactus@todaynewsafrica.com

LEAVE A REPLY

Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here

Trending Now

Nigerians in USA to hold ‘mother of all protests’ against police brutality and bad governance in their home country

Nigerians in the United States would hold the 'mother of all protests' on Saturday against police brutality and bad governance in...

U.S. condemns killing of peaceful protesters in Nigeria

The United States on Thursday strongly condemned "the use of excessive force by military forces who fired on unarmed demonstrators in...

Egypt executes 49 people in 10 days

Egyptian authorities executed 15 men convicted for alleged involvement in three cases of political violence as well as two women and 25...

Sub-Saharan Africa faces difficult road to recovery amid COVID-19 economic fallout, IMF says in latest economic outlook

Sub-Saharan Africa is facing a difficult road to recovery amid COVID-19 economic fallout, the International Monetary Fund (IMF) said in its...

Bill Clinton condemns killing of peaceful protesters in Nigeria

Former U.S. President Bill Clinton on Wednesday condemned the use of force against peaceful protesters in Nigeria on Tuesday, saying the...

MOST POPULAR

Damning report finds detainees in Iran were sexually abused and given electric shocks in gruesome post-protest crackdown

Iran’s police, intelligence and security forces, and prison officials have committed, with the complicity of judges and prosecutors, a catalogue of...

Africa shocked U.S. under Trump has worst coronavirus response in the world

President Donald Trump has "failed in his basic duty to protect Americans", world's renowned journalist Bob Woodward told Fox News Sunday...

Cameroon soldiers get 10 years for murder of civilians in trial conducted behind closed doors

A military court in Cameroon on Monday, September 21, sentenced four soldiers to 10 years in prison and one other to 2 years...

EXCLUSIVE: IMF economist details how COVID-19 economic turmoil in Asia will affect Sub-Saharan Africa

The COVID-19 pandemic is battering economies in Asia with a contraction expected for the first time in many decades. The economic...

Ghana to reopen international air borders from September 1

Ghana will reopen its international air borders on September 1, six months after closing them in March to curb the spread...

Nigerians in USA to hold ‘mother of all protests’ against police brutality and bad governance in their home country

Nigerians in the United States would hold the 'mother of all protests' on Saturday against police brutality and bad governance in their home country.The peaceful protest, to last at least three hours, would begin at 3 p.m. in Randallstown, Baltimore County, Maryland, United States."We want our brothers and sisters in Nigeria to know we...

[/read_more]

[read_more id="2" more="Read full article" less="Read less"]

Share
Tweet
WhatsApp
Reddit
Share