The Socio-Economic Rights and Accountability Project (SERAP) has urged the World Bank President, Mr David Malpass, to give account of how previous funds disbursed by the bank to support Nigeria’s electricity sector were utilized.
The organization said in view of the recently approved $500m by World Bank to boost access to electricity in Nigeria, it was crucial to ensure there is transparency and accountability in the disbursement, utilisation and execution of past and present electricity projects in Nigeria.
The statement issued on Sunday and signed by SERAP’s Deputy Director, Kolawole Oluwadare, said it was important for civil society organisations to meaningfully engage in the implementation of electricity projects funded by the bank.
The organisation stated that in a letter dated February 6, 2021, it specifically asked World Bank to “disclose and release information and documents relating to spending of funds approved and released to Nigeria between 1999 and 2020 to improve access to regular and uninterrupted electricity supply.
SERAP also asked for “copies of supervision reports, periodic reviews and other appropriate reports on the bank’s role in the spending and disbursement of the funds, as well as specific projects on which the funds have been spent.”
“Disclose implementation status and results and completion reports on the electricity projects that the Bank has so far funded in Nigeria.
The letter copied to World Bank Country Director for Nigeria, Shubham Chaudhuri, read in part, “Disclose information on the of level of involvement of World Bank in the implementation of electricity projects between 1999 and 2020.
“Disclose information on agreements and the mechanisms the Bank is putting in place to ensure transparency and accountability in the spending of all funds on electricity projects in Nigeria.
“Disclose the terms and conditions of all electricity projects related funds that have been approved for Nigeria between 1999 and 2020.”
In the letter signed by SERAP Deputy Director, Kolawole Oluwadare, the organisation urged the bank to explain the rationale for the approval of $500m to implement electricity projects in the country, despite reports of widespread and systemic corruption in the sector.
It also noted that the Nigerian government had failed to enforce a court judgment ordering the release of details of payments to allegedly corrupt electricity contractors who failed to execute any projects.
SERAP said it believed that the funds approved by the bank were vulnerable to corruption and mismanagement.
It stated, “The World Bank has a responsibility to ensure that the Nigerian authorities and their agencies are transparent and accountable to Nigerians in how they spend the approved funds for electricity projects in the country, and to reduce vulnerability to corruption and mismanagement.”