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April 23, 2024
You are currently viewing CSO demands effective legislative framework for utilisation of SDR Funds
Participants at a three-day Capacity Building Workshop for CSOs and Media on SDR in Abuja

CSO demands effective legislative framework for utilisation of SDR Funds

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By Emmanuella Anokam

The Africa Network for Environment and Economic Justice (ANEEJ) has called for effective legislative framework for utilisation of Special Drawing Rights (SDRs) allocated to Nigeria by the International Monetary Fund (IMF).

The Acting Executive Director, ANEEJ, Mr Leo Atakpu, made the call on Wednesday at a three-day Capacity Building Workshop for Civil Society Organisations (CSOs) and Media on SDR in Abuja.

SDR is a form of financing instrument that a country gets from IMF as a member country in times of global financial crisis like COVID-19.

Atakpu said that ANEEJ, a CSO, organised the workshop in partnership with AFRODAD and Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation to track SDR funds and raising citizens’ voices to end debt crises in West Africa.

“We started the project by conducting a research on the SDR funds utilisation in Nigeria and Ghana including other countries but have course to invite stakeholders to validate the research findings.

“When we assembled the result, we have every reason to agree that the content of the research was good for us to work with advocacy. Now, we are engaging the media and CSOs to deepen their understanding,’’ he said.

Presenting a paper titled “Utilisation of SDR in Nigeria, Dr Terfa Abraham, an Economist and Public Policy Analyst, recalled that Nigeria received the SDR from IMF in August 2021 equating 3.4 billion dollars to increase external reservation.

Abrahim, who is a Senior Research Fellow, National Institute for Legislative and Democratic Studies, said, “The CBN Act 2007, section 8 provides that CBN Governor briefs the National Assembly always with regards to its policies and activities.

“Section 24(g) of CBN Act 2007 provides that CBN shall all times maintain the reserve of external assets consisting allocations of SDR to Nigeria by IMF.

“As a sovereign country, Nigeria has the right to use SDR as it deems fit but should ensure that CBN, Ministries of Finance and Industry, Trade and Investment produce data and avenue for the usage as seen in other climes.

“The funds may end up being used in a manner that may not benefit the public and above all escape oversight watchful eyes of the legislators.

“The SDRs came into the country through the CBN; at that point the funds were not appropriated. But the funds were to be used in specific sectors like social investment, education and others which the National Assembly must oversight,” he said.

He said in the study conducted by ANEEJ, some stakeholders shared diverse opinion regarding current update on SDRs utilisation for Nigeria.

He said the study revealed that generally other countries used their SDR to support budget deficit and strengthening of foreign reserve.

Abraham said evidence showed that Nigeria also used its funds in that direction, stating that the CBN and other agencies needed to explain how SDR funds received in 2021 were used to cushion the effect of COVID-19.

This, he said, would help Nigeria to track the process and come up with advocacy and entry points that could be used to shape and direct how future SDR or related funds from development partners would be utilised.

In his remarks, Mr Mohammed Attah, National Coordinator, Procurement Observation and Advocacy Initiative, ANEEJ, said for a long time many countries have been benefiting from the IMF’s SDR without adequate awareness of the citizens, the end beneficiaries.

According to him, at times, the leadership of every county tends to misuse the SDR to the disadvantage of the people. So, there is a strong need to create awareness for people to know their rights concerning utilisation.

“Poverty can be traced to it, it is our common wealth deposited by IMF and in getting it back, we expect that apart from settling our debts at least we should have some kind of social interventions,” he said.

Also speaking, Prince Chris Azor, President, International Peace and Civic Responsibility Centre, a CSO, who described the SDR as an asset coming to the Federal Government, said Nigerians needed to know how resources were managed, thereby seeking for accountability.

“We have seen the windows from other countries like Ghana, Uganda among others, our government should be transparent and showcase processes of utilising the funds for our benefits,” he said.

NAN recalls that Nigeria received its first SDRs in the 70s when there was oil glut, recording second SDR in 1979 during gulf war, economic meltdown in 2009 and in 2021 due to COVID-19. (NAN)(www.nannews.ng)

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Edited by Deji Abdulwahab

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