N87trn debt: SERAP asks World Bank to suspend loans to Nigeria’s 36 states

 

The Socio-Economic Rights and Accountability Project, SERAP, has written to the World Bank, asking it to suspend loans to the country’s 36 states.

In a letter addressed to Mr Ajay Banga, the World Bank President, SERAP urged him “to promptly, transparently and effectively conduct investigation into spending of loans and other facilities by the 36 state governors”.

SERAP said the World Bank should suspend any loans and funding if there is relevant admissible evidence of mismanagement or diversion of public funds by any of the states.

This was disclosed in the letter dated November 25, 2023 and signed by SERAP deputy director Kolawole Oluwadare.

SERAP said the Bank should “suspend further applications for loans and any other funding to the nation’s states until they are able to satisfactorily explain details of spending of loans and other facilities obtained from the Bank and its partners”.

The organisation is alleging that many of the 36 states were mismanaging public funds, including loans obtained from the Bank and its partners, and allocations from the Federal Government.

The statement said the organization was worried there is a significant risk of mismanagement or diversion of funds linked to the Bank’s investments in many of the country’s 36 states.

“The World Bank and its partners need to make clear to Nigeria’s state governors that it would not tolerate any mismanagement or diversion of public funds by immediately suspending any pending loans and other funding to them until the allegations of mismanagement or diversion of public funds are investigated.

“Several state governors are also reportedly spending public funds which may include funding obtained from the Bank and its partners and allocations from the Federal Government to fund unnecessary travels, buy exotic and bulletproof cars and generally fund the lavish lifestyles of politicians.

“The country’s 36 states have reportedly spent N1.71tn on recurrent expenditures, including allowances, foreign trips, office stationery, and aircraft maintenance in the first nine months of 2023,” parts of the statement read.

SERAP threatened it would consider the option of seeking legal action should the World Bank fail or fail to implement the recommendations contained in its letter.

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