A non-governmental organization, ActionAid Nigeria, has called on the federal government of Nigeria to focus more on recovering looted funds from indicted public officials rather than taking fresh loans.
The Country Director of the organization, Ojobo Atuluku, in a reaction to the Nigeria Senate’s rejection of President Muhammadu Buhari’s request for an approval of $29.960 billion external loan, stated that taking such loan over a period of two years as proposed by the government would put the nation under constraint in the future.
While commending the federal government’s focus on infrastructural development, the main reason cited for request to take the loan, the official stated that “already there is evidence that the country is not in lack of fund to finance such projects, but that they have been illegally appropriated by some individuals”.
“The federal government should intensify efforts at recovering such funds illegally taken by the individuals who have abused their positions and public trust rather than push the nation into another future pains which such loan would become,” Mrs. Atuluku advised.
“In addition, the federal government should also plug other sources of revenue loss, especially tax fund loss which occur as a result of excessive and unnecessary tax waivers the country has been giving rich multinationals and large corporations.
“The nation loses as much as $2.9 billion every year due to these tax waivers which are unnecessary and not needed in the first place by the investors who already find Nigeria’s population and climate enough incentives for investment.”
The anti-poverty agency also called on the Senate and the House of Representatives to show good example in the quest to revamp the country’s economy by reviewing some of the members’ allowances which the organisation described as “excessive and absurd in the face of endemic poverty, suffering by the majority of Nigerians they claim to represent and in a depressed economy”.
“We commend this decision of the Senate to prevent commitment of the next generation of Nigerians to unwarranted burden of repaying avoidable debt and demand that members of the federal house of representatives also take an equal patriotic decision.”
Like ActionAid, lawyer and rights activist, Femi Falana has also asked the federal government to expedite action on loot recovery and use proceeds therefrom, instead of the loan, to build infrastructure.
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