The World Bank disclosed on Tuesday that Nigeria had obtained approval for an $800 million loan earmarked for subsidy palliatives in December 2021. Surprisingly, former President Muhammadu Buhari wrote to the Senate seeking approval for the loan just weeks before handing over to the new President in May 2023.
Dr. Subham Chadhuri, the World Bank Country Director, made this revelation during an event on Tuesday that aimed to evaluate Nigeria’s economy over the past six months. He emphasized that the loan was granted in response to the request of former President Muhammadu Buhari, who had planned the removal of petrol subsidy.
The timing of this disclosure has left many Nigerians dismayed. It has come to light that former President Buhari had sent a letter to the Senate in 2023, requesting approval to secure a $800 million loan from the World Bank to provide palliatives and mitigate the impact of subsidy removal, all while preparing for his handover in May. Essentially, the former president was seeking Senate approval for a loan that had already been approved by the World Bank in 2021.
Meanwhile, the World Bank Country Director in Nigeria expressed support for the removal of petrol subsidy and the unification of the foreign exchange regime, aligning with the stance taken by Tinubu, a prominent political figure.
This revelation has sparked concerns among Nigerians regarding the timing and transparency of the loan approval process, particularly with regards to the former president’s actions. As the situation unfolds, stakeholders await further clarification and transparency in the management of financial matters in the country.