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SERAP tasks National Assembly on rejection of Buhari’s fresh loan

By Silver Nwokoro
20 September 2021   |   3:25 am
The group noted that Buhari recently sought the approval of the National Assembly to borrow $4,054,476,863 billion and €710 million, citing emerging needs.

SOCIO-ECONOMIC Rights and Accountability Project (SERAP) has urged Senate President Ahmad Lawan and Speaker of the House of Representatives Femi Gbajabiamila to reject the fresh request by President Muhammadu Buhari to borrow $4 billion and €710 million until spending details of all loans obtained since May 29, 2015 by the government are published.

The group noted that Buhari recently sought the approval of the National Assembly to borrow $4,054,476,863 billion and €710 million, citing emerging needs. The request was contained in a letter dated August 24, 2021.

But in an open letter dated September 18, 2021, signed by SERAP’s Deputy Director, Kolawole Oluwadare, the rights body expressed concern over Nigeria’s growing debt crisis, lack of transparency and accountability in the spending of loans, and perceived unwillingness or inability of the National Assembly to vigorously exercise its constitutional duties to check indiscriminate borrowing by the government.

SERAP said: “The National Assembly should not allow the government to accumulate unsustainable levels of debt and use the country’s scarce resources for crippling debt service payments but for improving the access of poor and vulnerable Nigerians to basic public services and human rights.”

It said accumulation of excessive debts and unsustainable debt-servicing are inconsistent with the government’s international obligations to use the country’s resources for the realisation of economic and social rights.

In the letter, copied to the chairmen of the Public Accounts Committees of the National Assembly, SERAP lamented that the country’s public debt has mushroomed with no end in sight.