Deji Elumoye in Abuja
President of the Senate, Dr. Ahmad Lawan, has canvassed for the assistance of the World Bank in Nigeria’s move to repatriate its looted funds lodged in several banks overseas.
Lawan, who made the plea on Tuesday evening while playing host to the new World Bank Country Director for Nigeria, Mr. Shubham Chaudhuri, asked the World Bank to assist Nigeria in the ongoing drive to repatriate the money looted by Nigerians and stashed in foreign banks.
His words: “It has been a very difficult and monumental situation to ask and get those monies back to Nigeria even if you identify where they are. For a developing country, such resources are important and critical to our efforts in developing our country.
“So, how is the World Bank helping us in ensuring that we get back some of these resources knowing full well that some of these powerful countries will protect such funds and it becomes difficult for us to get our money back.”
He also urged the World Bank to come to Nigeria’s assistance in her effort at alleviating poverty in the country.
According to him, this is the time Nigeria needs the World Bank the most when the Coronavirus, the global pandemic is making it difficult to raise revenue for the implementation of this year’s budget.
He said: “The 2020 budget was designed to be funded, in a very large part, by foreign borrowing especially for our capital projects.
“Nigeria is to take a loan of about 17 billion dollars from China out of the 22.7 billion dollars that was passed by the Senate…But today we are not sure of what will happen because almost every country from where we are supposed to borrow the money is facing some challenges.
“This is the time the World Bank should stand out to come to the aid of Nigeria.”
Lawan recalled the promise made last year by President Muhammadu Buhari to take 100million Nigerians out of poverty in 10 years stressing that the promise is realisable.
“It is possible because we have the ingredients and we have friends who will help us. This is where the World Bank is also needed,” he said.
Lawan, therefore, asked: “How do you help us achieve that? It is achievable. Other countries have achieved that, India, Brazil, and China have done quite well.
“Not only money but the technical support we require because it is not only given us loans and grants but even how to apply and deploy resources to achieve these goals will be so important and critical.”
Speaking earlier, the World Bank Country Director for Nigeria, Chaudhuri, told Lawan: “We are here to support the government’s programmes particularly as it relates to poverty alleviation, that is our ultimate goal.
“It is an opportunity for us to have your thoughts on where you will like to see us direct our support having in mind, our ultimate mission is to help eliminate poverty.”