The Socio-Economic Rights and Accountability Project (SERAP), a rights group, has urged the Senate President, Dr. Ahmad Lawan and Speaker of House of Representatives, Femi Gbajabiamila, to reject the fresh request by President Muhammadu Buhari to borrow $4 billion and €710 million until the publication of details of spending of all loans obtained since May 29, 2015, by the government.
Recall that President Buhari recently sought the approval of the National Assembly to borrow $4,054,476,863 billion and €710 million, on the grounds of “emerging needs.” The request was contained in a letter dated August 24, 2021.
SERAP, in a letter dated September 18, 2021, and signed by its Deputy Director, Kolawole Oluwadare, expressed “concerns about the growing debt crisis, the lack of transparency and accountability in the spending of loans that have been obtained, and the perceived unwillingness or inability of the National Assembly to vigorously exercise its constitutional duties to check the apparently indiscriminate borrowing by the government.”
SERAP said: “The National Assembly should not allow the government to accumulate unsustainable levels of debt, and use the country’s scarce resources for staggering and crippling debt service payments rather than for improved access of poor and vulnerable Nigerians to basic public services and human rights.”
According to SERAP, “Accumulation of excessive debts and unsustainable debt-servicing are inconsistent with the government’s international obligations to use the country’s maximum available resources to achieve progressively the realisation of economic and social rights, and access of Nigerians to basic public services.”
The letter read in part: “The country’s public debt has mushroomed with no end in sight. The growing national debt is clearly not sustainable. There has been no serious attempt by the government to cut the cost of governance. The leadership of the National Assembly ought to stand up for Nigerians by asserting the body’s constitutional powers to ensure limits on national debt and deficits.
“SERAP urges you to urgently propose a resolution and push for constitutional amendment on debt limit, with the intent of reducing national debt and deficits. This recommendation is entirely consistent with the constitutional oversight functions and spending powers of the National Assembly, and the country’s international anti-corruption and human rights obligations.” Daily Independent.