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Accountability: SERAP urges World Bank to suspend loans to Nigeria’s 36 States over alleged misspending

*The Socio-Economic Rights and Accountability Project asks World Bank’s President Ajay Banga ‘to promptly, transparently and effectively conduct an investigation into the spending of loans and other facilities by the country’s 36 state governors and to suspend any loans and funding, if there is evidence of mismanagement or diversion of public funds

Isola Moses | ConsumerConnect

The Socio-Economic Rights and Accountability Project (SERAP) has urged the World Bank to suspend issuing loans to Nigeria’s 36 states over allegations of mismanaging public funds which may include loans obtained from the Bretton Woods institution.

SERAP, in a letter dated November 25, 2023, specifically the bank’s President, Ajay Banga, “to promptly, transparently and effectively conduct an investigation into the spending of loans and other facilities by the country’s 36 state governors and to suspend any loans and funding, if there is relevant admissible evidence of mismanagement or diversion of public funds by any of the states.”

Likewise, Kolawole Oluwadare, Deputy Director at SERAP, in a statement issued Sunday, November 27 asked the Bank to “suspend further applications for loans and any other funding to the 36 states until these states can satisfactorily explain details of spending of loans and other facilities obtained from the Bank and its partners.”

Oluwadare stated: “The World Bank and its partners cannot continue to give loans and other funding to these states where there are credible allegations of mismanagement or diversion of public funds.

“We are concerned that 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.

“It is neither appropriate nor responsible lending to give loans to these states only for the loans to be misspent.”

On estimated N78.2 trillion public debt portfolio

Referencing relevant data from Nigeria’s Debt Management Office (DMO), SERAP further affirmed that the total public debt portfolio for the country’s 36 states and the Federal Capital Territory is N9.17 trillion.

The Federal Government’s total public debt portfolio is N78.2 trillion, said the statement.

The rights organisation urged the World Bank’s Banga to demand expressed commitment from Nigeria’s 36 governors to addressing “credible allegations of mismanagement or diversion of public funds” in their states.

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