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THE Federal Government has announced that it is in the process of acquiring a $750 million loan from the World Bank, in an attempt to stimulate the economy and cushion the effect of COVID-19.
Zainab Ahmed, the Minister of Finance, Budget, and National Planning stated this at the inauguration of the Federal Steering Committees of the Nigeria COVID-19 Action Recovery and Economic Stimulus (N-CARES) program in Abuja, where she disclosed that the government is weighing the effects of COVID-19 and cause of civil unrest in the country.
“The consequences will be too high if we ignore the root cause of rising civil unrest in our country. We must, therefore, fashion out ways of ensuring that post-Covid-19 is not injurious to the Nigerian people and the economy,” Ahmed said
The minister also emphasized the importance of securing the loan to support the economy, stating that Nigeria cannot continue to remain in recession and the needs of its estimated 200 million population must be met.
Already, Nigeria’s Total Debt Stock (Foreign & Domestic), as at June 2020, stood at N31.01 trillion ($85.9 billion), according to Nigeria public debt report, released by the Debt Management Office (DMO).
The country in August, secured a $114.28 million COVID-19 loan from the World Bank, with the aim of helping Nigeria fight COVID-19 with a specific focus on state level responses.
According to a statement from the World Bank, the financing included $100 million credit from the International Development Association (IDA) and $14.28 million grant from the Pandemic Emergency Financing Facility.
The $100 million credit with Project ID number: P173980, is due to be paid back over 30 years, with additional 5 years grace period.
The Civil Society Legislative Advocacy Centre (CISLAC) has expressed worry over the rate at which the Presidency seeks approval to borrow more money despite huge amount of resources that have been wasted.
The organisation disclosed that a total of $23.224 billion and N7.744 trillion have been left unaccounted for by various ministries, departments and agencies (MDAs) in the country.
Disclosing series of spending yet to be accounted for, it added that the June 2020 publication of the NNPC 2018 Audited Financial Statement (AFS) shows that three of Nigeria’s four refineries gulped N1.64 trillion in cumulative losses recorded in their operations since 2014.
Meanwhile, Nicholas Ossai, member, federal house of representatives and chairman of the house committee on treaties, protocols and agreements recently raised an alarm, stating that some government officials were signing empty pages of loan agreement.
Ossai made the allegation while speaking at the investigative hearing on external loans and commercial agreements in Abuja on August 19, revealing that government agencies sign commercial agreements worth billions of dollars before going to the federal executive council for approval to execute them.