The Federal Government has been questioned regarding the World Bank’s $800 million loan to the nation, which was intended as a palliative to lessen the impact of the projected elimination of fuel subsidies by June.
In a statement on Friday, Auwal Musa-Rafsanjani, the executive director of CISLAC, bemoaned the administration of President Muhammadu Buhari’s casual approach toward the grave debt problem facing the nation.
He noted that it is strange that the government would borrow money to pay for post-fuel subsidy removal palliatives, adding that “if the fuel subsidy removal process has been suspended as announced by the Minister of Finance after the NEC meeting at the end of April, then the government should return the borrowed money because what are we taking the loan for?”
Mr Rafsanjani said that fears of the country getting another $800 million loan from the World Bank sends waves of worries in the minds of Nigerians as Nigeria’s revenue collection in 2022 stood at N10 trillion, with a debt of about N77 trillion.
“In 2022, Nigeria paid about N7 trillion in fuel subsidies, and in 2023, from January to June, when the country intends to stop doing so, N3.6 trillion will be paid. If we are paying such a huge sum of money when subsidies are removed, we should have enough savings that we can use the subsidy funds for post-subsidy removal rather than taking out additional loans.
In actuality, we don’t need to borrow. Waste reduction is what we must accomplish. We have all lately seen the aviation minister announce the purchase of 10 fire trucks for more over 12 billion naira. Is this what we’re using the borrowed money for?
“Also, we read that the Minister of Communication and Digital Economy announced the approval of 24.2 billion to provide internet facilities at airports and some institutions amongst other places. These are the things we are spending on few weeks before the end of this administration and this is unacceptable”.
The anti-corruption organisation boss also condemned the reckless spending during the end of this present administration few weeks to go, saying it’s totally unnecessary and it’s a clear sign of diversion of public funds for personal interest and not for the overall good of the country.
He urged the nation’s financial watchdogs to draw attention to all public expenditures that did not adhere to proper procurement procedures.
“What’s the need for acquiring fighter trucks towards the end of an administration, a position you have held for over 8 years, but you find no need to acquire the trucks until the end, is a clear sign of contracts scams that doesn’t follow due process and the public interest; it is simply financial irresponsibility,” the CISLAC Executive Director questioned.
“And Nigeria as a nation that is so swamped up in debts we can’t afford that right now because where’s the public interest in that elephant project.
“Also the Minister of Communications have gone ahead to get an approval of FEC for N24.2bn for internet access at airports and universities but this are services that naturally should be done by service providers”.
He maintained that “Nigeria is already in another debt trap. Nigeria is in a crisis, according to data from both national and international financial and debt organizations.