The Civil Society Legislative Advocacy Centre (CISLAC) and Transparency International Nigeria (TI) have called on the National Assembly to stop approving loans for the federal government until all illicit flows are accounted for and recovered.
The Civil Society Legislative Advocacy Centre (CISLAC)/Transparency International Nigeria, with support from OXFAM under the Strategic Partnership Financing for Development Project, complained about the frequency at which the Presidency sends requests for approval for borrowing, despite the huge amount of resources wasted by various Ministries, Departments and Agencies (MDAs).
According to the group, the presidency could not account for previous loans already taken.
The Executive Director of CISLAC, Auwal Ibrahim Musa, stated this at a press conference in Abuja. He noted that the application of restraint on approvals of loans will go a long way in reducing the burden of debts on citizens which by extension alleviates poverty and inequality.
Mr Musa said, ”In late April, while the Senate approved the N5.5 billion for priority projects, the House of Representatives also approved $22.7 billion that was rejected the previous year. The latter was said to finance key infrastructure in the country.”
Mr Musa urged lawmakers to halt further approval of borrowing and mandate the executive to recover misappropriated and mismanaged funds.
He said, “In 2018, findings from a series of audits of the oil and gas sector carried out by the Nigeria Extractive Industries Transparency Initiative (NEITI) showed that the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC) and its upstream arm, NPDC, had failed to remit $21.778 billion and N316.074 billion to the Federation Account. These were amounts due from three main sources: Federation assets divested to NPDC and Nigerian Petroleum Development Company’s (NPDC) legacy liabilities; payments for domestic crude allocation to NNPC; and dividends from investment in Nigerian Liquefied Natural Gas Company (NLNG) paid to but withheld by NNPC.”
”The Auditor-General re-affirmed that as of June 30, 2019, 160 agencies defaulted in the submission of audited accounts for 2016; 265 agencies defaulted in the submission of audited accounts for 2017; while 11 agencies had never submitted any finance statements since inception. In total, the audit revealed that the sum of N20,675,801,479,59 (N20 billion) in various taxes in the year under review, was not remitted to the Consolidated Revenue Fund of the Federal Government of Nigeria,” he added.
According to the CISLAC boss, it was not in the best interest of Nigerians to be appropriating funds to agencies that had yet to account for funds it received over the years.
He said, “We must not keep quiet we must speak and put a stop to this mindless looting. The government must focus on blocking the leakages, instead of going for more loans.”
“National Assembly must rise and put a stop to this; they have a responsibility to rescue the country. It is, therefore, our hope that the National Assembly denies approval of another loan until these illicit flows are accounted for and recovered,” he added.