The Nigeria Electricity Consumer Advocacy Network, and Civil Society Legislative Advocacy Centre have raised an alarm over the spade of borrowing by the government to run the country.
This came on the premise of the borrowing of over N260bn from multilateral agencies as captured in the 2024 budget for power and finance ministries.
They argued that the borrowed funds had yet to impact positively on the well-being of Nigerians, stressing that despite the trillions of naira spent by the Federal Government and private investors on the power sector since it was privatised 10 years ago, power supply nationwide had remained poor.
Recall that figures in the 2024 budget indicate that no fewer than 13 ministries of the Federal Government are to receive the sum of N1.1tn as project-tied loans sourced from multilateral and bilateral agreements with international funding agencies.
The project-tied funds, separate from the proposed budgetary allocations, were obtained from contractual agreements with the World Bank, International Monetary Fund, Africa Development Bank and other international funding agencies.
An analysis of the budget showed that while the Ministry of Finance got N353.94bn, the Ministry of Power received an allocation of N264.26bn, bringing their combined allocation from the loan to N618.2bn, according to The Punch.
Meanwhile, power consumer groups wondered why the government was still getting loans to fund the power sector despite privatising the industry a decade ago and spending so much on it without tangible results.
The National Secretary, Nigeria Electricity Consumer Advocacy Network, while fielding questions from the press said, “You don’t run a government through loans. It is not done anywhere.
“President Tinubu is running around, going all over the place to get funds because when he came face-to-face with the reality on the ground, he couldn’t believe the mess the country has been thrown into.
“So borrowing over N260bn from multilateral agencies as captured in the 2024 budget, to pump it into the power sector again is something of great concern, particularly when you consider the humongous funds that had gone into that industry without tangible result.”
The Executive Director, Civil Society Legislative Advocacy Centre, Auwal Rafsanjani, queried the reasons why the finance ministry was allotted loans from international agencies.
He said, “We have been complaining about the fact that it appears that the current administration has just come to place an unnecessary burden on Nigerians and our economy by recklessly borrowing loans that nobody is seeing the positive benefit of, which goes against the fiscal responsibility laws.
“Loans are supposed to be taken under strict conditions and it is supposed to be for productivity and not for consumption. But what we have seen with the immediate past and current administration, that the thirst for obtaining is getting too much.
“Secondly, what project is the Ministry of Finance implementing that would require obtaining loans? For anybody to allocate funds to the finance ministry, it is just a calculated attempt to divert the money for personal aggrandisement.
“The ministry just does not have any business borrowing funds from multilaterals, based on the budget we are seeing. These corrupt practices must stop and our leaders must be creative and think of solutions that would help without becoming slaves to other countries or agencies.”