SERAP tasks World Bank on $114.3m credit to Nigeria
The Socio-Economic Rights and Accountability Project (SERAP) yesterday appealed to the World Bank to ensure that the $114.28million credit it granted Nigeria is spent on intended COVID-19 in a transparent manner.
In an open letter to the World Bank President, Mr. David Malpass, SERAP urged him to use his “good office to encourage the Federal Government and the 36 state governments to publicly commit to transparency and accountability in the spending of the credit by, among others, publishing details on a dedicated website.
The group, in the letter dated August 8, 2020 and signed by its Deputy Director, Kolawole Oluwadare, urged 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 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 had last Friday approved the $114.28 million credit “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 global bank, the credit is due to be paid back over 30 years, with additional five years grace period.
SERAP said the World Bank had a responsibility to ensure that the federal authorities and state governments are transparent and accountable to Nigerians in how they spend the money.
According to SERAP, 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.
The group also 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 allegations of corruption and mismanagement of COVID-19 funds by agencies of the federal and state governments, and impunity of perpetrators.”
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 it 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.”
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