The Socio-Economic Rights and Accountability Project (SERAP), has expressed concern over fresh $5.8bn loan, worries about lack of transparency and accountability.
In an open letter dated December 18, 2021, and signed by SERAP’s Deputy Director, Kolawole Oluwadare, the group faulted the National Assembly for not considering the terms and conditions for loan application before approval.
The letter read in part: “SERAP is concerned about the lack of transparency and accountability in the spending of the loans so far obtained, and opacity around the terms and conditions, including repayment details of these loans.
“While the National Assembly has asked for these details in future loan requests, it ought to have seen and assessed the terms and conditions of these loans before approving them, in line with its oversight responsibility under the Nigerian Constitution of 1999 (as amended).
“The federal government and many of the 36 states would seem to be in debt distress or at high risk of debt distress.
“The loans from China alone amount to $3.59 billion. According to the UN Independent Expert on foreign debt and human rights, Nigeria faces debt service relative to tax revenues that exceed 20 per cent, with escalating social tensions linked to poverty and inequality.
“The growing level of borrowing by your government and the 36 states is clearly a human rights issue because when the entire country is burdened by unsustainable debts, there will be little money left to ensure access of poor and vulnerable Nigerians to basic public services.
“SERAP shall take all appropriate legal actions to compel your government and the 36 states to comply with our requests.”