Human rights lawyer, Mr Femi Falana, SAN has threatened legal action against the Federal Government if it makes good its plan to borrow to finance the 2016 budget.
In a letter to the minister of finance, Falana argued that rather than borrowing fresh loan, government should strive to recover debts owed it by different groups and institutions. According to him, records show that the Federal Government is owed nothing less than $66.5 billion which ought to be recovered without any further delay.
“The potential recoverable revenues payable to the Federation Account are not less than $20,221,018,007.00 (Twenty billion, two hundred and twenty one million, eighteen thousand, and seven hundered dollars only),” Falana stated.
The debts were said to have arisen from “underpayment/underassessment of taxes, royalties, levies and rents,” according to five cycles of independent audit reports compiled by the National Extractive Industries Transparency Initiative (NEITI).
Falana also noted that on October 4, 2006, the Central Bank of Nigeria apportioned $7 billion to 14 Nigerian banks to “manage” out of the nation’s external reserves, which stood at $38.07 billion, as at the end of July, 2006. According to him, “the amount involved represented 18.39 percent of the total external reserves at the material time. In addition, following the crisis of global capitalism, which occurred in 2008, the Central Bank of Nigeria gave a bailout of $4 billion (N600 billion) to the commercial banks in the country.
“The CBN has not deemed it fit to ask for the refund of the total sum of $11 billion injected into the banking system in the space of two years,” Falana pointed out.
The federal government plans to apply for a loan of $2.5 billion from the World Bank and $1 billion from the African Development Bank for the purpose of financing the 2016 Budget.