July 20, 2024

IMF Allocation: NGO Calls On CBN To Publish Details Of $3.35Bn

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By Ikhili Ebalu, Benin City

The Africa Network for Environment and Economic Justice (ANEEJ) on Friday called for transparency and accountability in the utilization of the $3.35bn Special Drawing Right (SDR) fund allocated to Nigeria by the International Monetary Fund (IMF) in August 2021.

Leo Atakpu, Acting Executive Director of ANEEJ who made the called at a press conference in Benin recalled that the Board of Governors of IMF in August 2021 approved a general allocation of $650bn Special Drawing Rights fund to help boost the liquidity of member countries following the economic crisis caused by the global Covid-19 virus.

Of this amount, according to him, African countries received about $33.8bn while Nigeria was allocated the sum of $3.35bn as its own share of the SDR fund.

“SDRs are a component of external assets or reserve assets in the balance of payment account that are readily available to and controlled by a country’s monetary authority”, he said.

According to Atakpu, “in August 2023, ANEEJ in partnership with the African Centre for Energy Policy (ACEP) commissioned two research studies for an assessment of the Utilization of the Special Drawing Rights in Nigeria and Ghana as part of activities in the implementation of “Tracking Special Drawing Rights Funds and Raising Citizen’s Voices to End Debt Crises in West Africa’ supported by Open Society Foundation for West Africa (OSIWA).

According to him, The Reports have since been published both in Nigeria and Ghana and used for advocacy and engagements with stakeholders at various levels.

Adding that, The report shows among others that the IMF has no clear guideline on how the SDRs should be utilized by member countries, hence, they are used for sectors in less need of them just as the SDRs are allocated to countries in less need for them.

“It also shows that developed nations in less need of the SDRs received much more than developing nations in dire need of the facility for development of critical sectors of their economies.

Stating that, It was also discovered that there was a dearth of knowledge around SDRs among stakeholders in Nigeria including the Executive Arm, the Legislature, Civil Society and Media while legislative oversight by the legislature was totally lacking”, he also said.

ANEEJ Acting Executive Director further explained that, it was against this backdrop that ANEEJ organized a two-day International Hybrid Conference from 22nd and 23rd of November, 2023 in Abuja which was attended by stakeholders drawn from the government, legislature, Civil Society and Media.

Similarly, ANEEJ organized a two-day Capacity Building Workshop for Leaders of Civil Society and Media on issues of SDRs and debt in the country where participants were equipped with the knowledge of SDR in order to popularize the concept among the citizens and join in the advocacy for accountable and transparent utilization of SDRs in the country.

ANEEJ has also in the last ninen months been involved in High Level Engagement with IMF, relevant Government Ministries, Agencies and Departments as well as Chairmen of Committees of the National Assembly on the need for open, inclusive, transparent and accountable utilization of the Special Drawing Rights allocated to Nigeria by IMF.

He further said, At the just concluded African Development Bank Annual Meeting (AfBAM 2024), in Nairobi Kenya, ANEEJ in collaboration with her partners joined in the advocacy for the Reform of SDRs and the entire global financial architecture to help developing countries cope with their developmental challenges.

It is however regrettable that the Central Bank of Nigeria has refused to disclose to Nigerians how the SDR was utilized as the custodian of the SDR facility, ANEEJ noted.

Atakpu however told journalists that the press conference was in furtherance of goals of the project to sensitize the citizens on the need to hold government accountable on issues of SDRs and debt management in the country, adding that in the light of this, ANEEJ is calling on the Central Bank of Nigeria to publish details of the allocation and utilization of the $3.35bn SDR allocated to Nigeria by IMF and tell Nigerians how it has been utilised.

He also called on the legislature to exercise their constitutional role of oversight on the CBN and other agencies saddled with the responsibility of debt management in the country.

Speed up the process of rechanneling SDRs through the African Development Bank for the development of social sectors like education, health and infrastructure, even as we appreciate the approval of the framework for the rechanneling by the Fund.

The IMF and the developed countries should also consider the redistribution of IMF quota on ‘needs’ basis and not on GDP as this would help developing countries cope with the Poly crises they currently faced. ANEEJ demanded.

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