We’re worried that $114.28m COVID-19 loan would be stolen – SERAP to World Bank

THE Socio-Economic Rights and Accountability Project (SERAP) has in an open letter to the World Bank on Saturday asked that the approved $114.28 million COVID-19 loan for Nigeria be properly monitored and subjected to premium accountability.

In the letter dated August 8, signed by Kolawole Oluwadare, SERAP’s Deputy Director, the accountability organisation expressed concern that the loan would be stolen and diverted if not monitored.

“We are concerned that the money and resources may be stolen, diverted or mismanaged by authorities and state governors without effective transparency and accountability mechanisms, especially given increasing reports of allegations of corruption & mismanagement of COVID-19 funds,” it said.

The World Bank Board of Directors last Friday approved a $114.28 financing to help 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.

In its open letter, SERAP has urged David Malpass, the World Bank President to encourage the Federal Government and 36 state governors to publicly commit to transparency and accountability in the spending of the COVID-19 grant.

“Put pressure on authorities and the 36 state governors to accept voluntary scrutiny by Nigerians and civil society regarding the spending of the funds and use of the resources, including on how they will spend the money to buy medical equipment, and improve access to clean water, sanitation and hygiene,” SERAP said.

Meanwhile, SERAP has asked the Federal High Court sitting in Abuja to direct President Muhammadu Buhari to publish details of loans taken so far by the country since May 2015.

This request was disclosed, after the human rights group filed a suit marked FHC/ABJ/CS/785/2020 asking the Court in Abuja to compel the president to direct anti-corruption agencies in the country to monitor the disbursed spending from loans incurred since May 2015.

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