COVID-19: World Bank warned over $114m grant to Nigeria

The Socio-Economic Rights and Accountability Project, (SERAP) has sent a letter to the World Bank President, David Malpass, urging him to demand that the Nigerian government account for the spending of $114.28million grant for COVID-19.

Malpass was also asked to put pressure on governors to accept voluntary scrutiny by Nigerians and civil society regarding the spending of the funds.

The World Bank credit with Project ID number: P173980, is due to be paid back over 30 years, with an additional 5 years grace period.

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The fund includes $100million credit from the International Development Association (IDA) and $14.28million grant from the Pandemic Emergency Financing Facility.

SERAP deputy director, Kolawole Oluwadare, noted that the organization has a responsibility to ensure that Nigerian authorities account for disbursement of the funds.

The body said the bank’s power to provide credits and grants is coupled with a fiduciary responsibility to ensure that governments’ spending meets international standards of transparency and accountability, including those entrenched in the UN Convention against Corruption.

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SERAP copied Shubham Chaudhuri, World Bank Country Director for Nigeria.

The memo stressed that monitoring of expenditure would prevent a repeat of alleged diversion and mismanagement of recovered Abacha loot the federal government disbursed to state governments.

The rights group told the World Bank to make clear to all the governors that it will cancel the credit and grant should they renege on their commitments to spend the money and use the resources exclusively for coronavirus related projects.

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SERAP encouraged the bank “not to sacrifice international standards of transparency and accountability in the rush to provide COVID-19 credit and grant to the 36 state governments.”

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