The World Bank has been urged to suspend issuing loans to Nigeria’s 36 states over allegations of mismanaging public funds which may include loans obtained from the institution.
The Socio-Economic Rights and Accountability Project (SERAP) made the request in a letter dated November 25, 2023, signed by its Deputy Director, Kolawole Oluwadare.
SERAP also urged the World Bank President, Mr Ajay Banga to promptly, transparently and effectively conduct an investigation into the spending of over $8.5 billion loans and other facilities by 36 state governors in Nigeria.
Many of the country’s 36 states are allegedly mismanaging public funds which may include loans obtained from the Bank and its partners, and allocations from the Federal Government, which may also include loans obtained from the bank.
SERAP said; “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.”
Citing data from Nigeria’s Debt Management Office (DMO), the group said the total public debt portfolio for the country’s 36 states and the Federal Capital Territory is N9.17 trillion. It also said the Federal Government’s total public debt portfolio is N78.2 trillion.
SERAP also urged the World Bank’s chief to demand expressed commitment from Nigeria’s 36 governors to address credible allegations of mismanagement or diversion of public funds in their states.