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SERAP urges NASS to reject Buhari’s fresh appeal for external loans

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The Socio-Economic Rights and Accountability Project (SERAP) has written to the leadership of the National Assembly imploring it to reject the request of President Muhammadu Buhari to borrow $4 billion and €710 million in external loans.

According to SERAP, the executive ought to be transparent about the spending of loans obtained since May 29, 2015, while Nigeria’s debt profile will hit over N35 trillion if the request is granted.

The open letter by SERAP was dated 18 September 2021 and signed by its deputy director Kolawole Oluwadare.

“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.

“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.

READ ALSO: SERAP sues Nigerian govt to disclose details of N729bn paid to poor Nigerians

“Should the National Assembly and its leadership fail to rein in government borrowing, and to ensure transparency and accountability in the spending of public loans, SERAP would consider appropriate legal action to compel the National Assembly to discharge its constitutional duties.

SERAP notes that if approved, the country’s debts will exceed N35 trillion. The government is also reportedly pushing the maturity of currently-secured loans to between 10 and 30 years.

“Ensuring transparency and accountability in the spending of loans by the government and cutting the cost of governance would address the onerous debt servicing, and improve the ability of the government to meet the country’s international obligations to use maximum available resources to ensure the enjoyment of basic economic and social rights, such as quality healthcare and education,” the letter read.

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