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By Victor Bieni, Asaba
A reputable Non-governmental organization based in the Niger-Delta, Social Development Integrated Centre (Social Action), has called on Nigerian Senate not to heed the request by President Mohammad Buhari to borrow $800M from World Bank as such will plunge the nation into a debt trap.
The NGO leadership made this remark in a press statement signed by one of it’s Communication Officers, Comfort Agbebaku, which was made available to some group of Journalists in Asaba, Delta State.
The group raises alarm over Nigerian debt profile of over $103.1Billion while frowning at President Mohammad Buhari’s request to borrow $800M from world Bank as loan for fuel subsidy palliatives to Nigerians.
Social Action considers the decision by the Federal Government to borrow $800 million from the World Bank as financially reckless. According to the group, Nigeria’s debt profile as recorded by the Debt Management Office stood at $103.1 billion as of December 31st, 2022, and is projected to be about N77 trillion by the end of this administration.
With this huge debt profile, the group says, acquiring an additional $800 million in debt becomes repulsive and would only drag the country into a potential economic slump.
The statement by Social Action also reads in part: “Social Action calls on the Senate to immediately reject President Buhari’s request to borrow $800 million from the World Bank. This is necessary to prevent funds diversion, embezzlement plundering of scarce foreign exchange while the country is plunged further into a debt trap”.
“This call is made as a response to the Senate President; Ahmed Lawan, who on Wednesday, May 10 2023 made known the decision of Mr. President to take up the loan for fuel subsidy palliatives to Nigerians”.
“Buhari’s administration is at its twilight and it is impulsive to be acquiring loans for the purpose of consumption. According to the President, the $ 800 million loan facility is intended for use to support poor Nigerians”.
“This loan may however be another means to divert public funds or cover diverted funds and is not in the best interest of the populace whose generation would continue to offset national debts. In a country with 41% of its masses unemployed, and 133 million people living in multidimensional poverty, attention should be given to the creation of lasting job opportunities and not sharing stipends that will put the country in more debt”.
“We, therefore, urge the President to use his few days left in office to alleviate the conditions of the poor masses by focusing on the completion of critical ongoing capital-intensive projects. The decision to lift the subsidy on PMS has been delegated to the incoming administration and so should the budgetary allocation for palliatives associated with the backlash of the policy”.
“We call on the Senate to live up to their roles as representatives of the people and the protectors of their interests to reject the proposal forthwith. Instead, it should institute a probe to unravel the allegations of corruption level against the administrators of the National Social Safety Net Program (NASSP) and the over 13 billion naira ($34 million) allegedly spent to provide take-home rations to pupils during the lockdown period in 2020”.