Popular human rights group Socio Economic Rights and Accountability Project (SERAP) has requested that CBN publish details of overdraft expenses, repayment of all overdraft, and loans since 1999 till date.
SERAP also said it needed clarification whether the $25bn (₦97trn) reportedly obtained from CBN was within the five percent limit of the actual revenue of the government, for 2020.
This was revealed in the Freedom of Information (FOI) request, dated March 6, 2021; signed by its deputy director Kolawole Oluwadire. The organization said that transparency and accountability in spending CBN’s overdraft should be upheld, adding that “it would promote prudence in mismanagement of debt and reduce corruption, thereby preventing pitfalls in excessive debt”.
“Disclosing details of CBN overdraft and repayment would enable Nigerians to hold the government to account for its fiscal management and ensure that public funds are not diverted. This would help the government to respond swiftly in the cases of Covid 19 crisis,” SERAP said.
The non-governmental organization also stressed that” high level of public debt would make the government unable to invest in important public goods and services such as education, healthcare and clean water.
“The role of the government is to ensure that its citizen have access to this service in order to eradicate poverty.” and to achieve sustainable developmental goal by 2030″.
Inclusively, the FOI noted debt service cost rose due to increase in level of public debt, which amount to less resources spent on these essential public service.
“We would be grateful if the requested information is provided to up within 14 days of the receipt and/or publication of this letter, if we have not heard from you by then, the Incorporated Trustees of SERAP shall take all appropriate legal action to compel your government to comply to our request.
“Also the recent overdraft of $25.6bn (about 9.7trn) obtained from CBN would appear to be above the five percent limit of the actual revenue of the federal government for 2020, that is 3.9trn described by section (38) of the CBN Act 2007, SERAP notes that five percent 3.9trn is 197b.”
SERAP stated it has prohibited CBN from granting any further overdraft until outstanding overdraft have been fully repaid.
Lolo Ijeoma Njoku reporting, Obinwannem News