Nigerians in the diaspora on the platform of the Global Coalition for Security and Democracy in Nigeria have petitioned the President of the World Bank, David Malpass, to put an end to further negotiations with the President Muhammadu Buhari regime to borrow another $2.5 billion.
Another online petition is ongoing as the group plans to embark on a peaceful protest march to the headquarters of the World Bank in Washington on 15 October.
The group stated that Nigerians could no longer tolerate the action of government officials that steal public funds and resort to borrowing and increased taxation against the same citizens they stole from.
In a letter exclusively made available to SaharaReporters by the Global Coordinator of the group, Frederick Odorige,15 reasons were listed why the loan should not be approved.
“After writing off Nigeria’s $18 billion debt by the Paris Club in 2005 the Nigerian government went on a borrowing spree which has led to a current debt of over $81 billion that was mostly mismanaged.
“Some persons that were indicted for various corruption cases have been appointed by the current governments as Ministers. These are the same persons that will manage the anticipated fund.
“Our federal legislators continue to earn the highest salaries in the world insensitive to the fact that we are currently the poverty capital of the world. The senators are also shopping for about $17 million to buy vehicles in addition to their fleet of cars,” the group explained.
It added that senators traditionally ‘pad’ the country’s budgets for their selfish interests.
In 2018 a court ordered President Buhari to prosecute the senators that padded 2016 national budgets by N481 billion (about $1.5 billion). The group, however, noted: “The President intentionally refused to
comply with the court order. The padded and stolen amount is enough to build 10 standard hospitals in each of the 36 states of Nigeria.
“We have 34 mineral resources spread across 430 locations in Nigeria. Many developed countries do not have this. If for many years, our government cannot harness these resources to enhance our commonwealth, then they should be left to their shame.
“We are very convinced that at least half of the anticipated loan will either be stolen or used to service the unnecessary high cost of governance. We have been ranked 144 out of 180 countries in terms of
Arguing further, the group said: “The current government of retired General Muhammadu Buhari claimed to have bought mosquito nets for $16 million which they purportedly distributed. That money was also borrowed. No clear accountability was done as our children continue to die daily from malaria. For every dollar you give as further loans, you speed the death of Nigerian children and facilitates in mortgaging the life of our present youths.
“The United Nations has projected that Nigeria will remain the poverty capital of the world beyond 2050. This is an attestation to the fact that there are no clear and concrete development plans to lift our
people out of poverty. It is no longer news that our people are escaping in droves from the country and forming the highest number of African migrants that die on the Mediterranean Sea.”
In October 2018, the International Monetary Fund (IMF) warned Nigeria and sub-Saharan African economies to check the rising levels of debts and to diversify their revenue bases or face a crisis.
Other financial institutions in Nigeria have also warned the government against further borrowing.
“Nigeria has refused to comply as it continues to depend on the fluctuating oil prices. Economic crises will surely be quickened if you issue this loan.
“Sadly, our country`s debt servicing to revenue ratio is now more than 50 percent. This percentage will increase as you continue to grant loans and it will be practically impossible to ensure development.
“Since most of our resources are stolen by those in government, the burden of taxation is always being passed to the general public. For example, VAT has just been increased from 5 to 7.2%, including the introduction of other bank service charges,” it pointed out.
Future governments, the group stated, might find it difficult to pay back what the World Bank intended to lend Nigeria unless the bank was prepared to write off the loans in the future.
It also cited insecurity in various parts of the country and the inability of the government to provide stable electricity which has further compounded the challenges of production as a reason the loan should not be given.
“This will be worsened as the unemployment rate will jump to 33.5% in the year 2020,” the group claimed.
“Many states in Nigeria are currently struggling to pay salaries and the minimum wage which is barely $84 monthly. This is as a result of the fact that former State governors stole so much money and left
their various states in huge debts. For example, Kogi State of Nigeria currently owes 39 months’ salary arrears to its 7000 teachers. The story is almost the same in some other states.
“There are various lawful revolution protests going on in and outsideNigeria as our citizens have risen from complacence to challenge the incompetencies of government. Such protests have led to the use of
violent force by security agencies who have detained, shot and killed unarmed protesters against the rule of law. For any money you lend to the Nigerian government, you are unwittingly investing in the blood of our people.” Sahara Reporters