SERAP petitions Buhari over detail, audit of recent $5.5bn loan

SERAP petitions Buhari over detail, audit of recent $5.5bn loan

Socio-Economic Rights and Accountability Project (SERAP) has sent a Freedom of Information request to President Muhammadu Buhari.

This request is for the president “to provide spending details of all loans obtained by the government since May 29, 2015; including details and locations of projects on which the loans have been spent.”

SERAP also urged Buhari to; “set up an independent audit of all loans; to resolve any allegations of mismanagement and corruption; and to publish spending details of loans obtained by successive administrations; since 1999. Also list of countries and bodies that have given the loans, and specific repayment conditions.”

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1st News had reported that Buhari sought the approval of the National Assembly for a fresh loan of $5.513bn last week.

This fresh loan is to reportedly to fund the 2020 budget deficit, critical projects, and support some states.

In the same vein, the National Assembly recently approved a N850 billion loan.

Another loan of $22.79bn, already approved by the Senate, is pending before the House of Representatives.

In the FoI request dated 30 May 2020 and signed by SERAP deputy director Kolawole Oluwadare, the organization expressed: “concerns that while governments since 1999 have borrowed money in the name of Nigeria and its citizens; much of the funds have reportedly been mismanaged, stolen or squandered, leaving the citizens with the burden of having to repay these loans.”

SERAP said: “Opacity in the spending of loans would continue to have negative impacts on the fundamental interests of citizens.

“Transparency would ensure that the loans are not diverted to private pockets; increase public trust that these loans would be used to benefit Nigerians, provide good value for money, and reassure Nigeria’s creditors.”

SERAP also expressed “concerns about the massive and growing national debts, and the negative impacts on socio-economic development as well as access of Nigerians to public goods and services; including quality education, adequate healthcare, clean water, and regular electricity supply.

“While access to loans can provide indispensable resources; the mismanagement and squandering of any such resources would be counter-productive. 

“Any unresolved allegations of mismanagement, bribery, and corruption; in the use of loans would continue to deprive millions of Nigerians access to basic public goods and services; and would leave your government without the resources to respond to the COVID-19 crisis.

“We urge you to ensure that those suspected to be responsible for any mismanagement and corruption are promptly referred to appropriate anti-corruption agencies for further investigation; and where there is relevant admissible evidence, prosecution.”

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