The Muslim Rights Concern (MURIC) has raised the alarm that Nigeria might lose both its seat on the Board of the Islamic Development Bank (IDB) and its membership of the bank due to failure to pay its dues.
The group in a statement sent to Vanguard said the bank had allegedly issued several warnings to this effect the Ministry of Finance.
MURIC however, expressed worry over this development saying: “It is a sad reflection of the bureaucratic bottleneck often associated with some ministries and government agencies in this country.
“Is somebody refusing to take action? Who wants Nigeria to lose its membership of IDB with the dire consequences of losing all the benefits the country has been gaining?
“Although it was established since December 1973, the Nigerian office in Abuja was not opened until 22nd August, 2016. IDB has been of immense economic benefit to its 57-member countries. Its soft loans have been known to cushion the effect of harsh financial policies of other international finance institutions like the International Monetary Fund and World Bank.
“With membership cutting across all continents of the globe, Asia, Europe, Africa and South America, countries like Guyana, Albania, Uzbekistan, Sierra Leone, Togo, Mozambique, Gabon, Guinea have benefitted from IDB’s interest-free loans, the Islamic Development Bank has launched a programme to release $180 million in financing to six African countries for renewable energy projects as part of a broad strategy to deepen its involvement in the region. “Islamic finance is growing in Africa as governments seek to develop large-scale infrastructure projects. Nigeria cannot afford to be shut out of this great opportunity. The Islamic Development Bank (IDB) set aside about $2billion dollars (about N310 billion) in support of Nigeria’s developmental programmes which was to span three years (2012-2014).
Nigeria also received $670million interest-free loan from the Islamic Development Bank in 2012.
IDB has successfully financed a number of infrastructural development projects in Nigeria in recent times. These include the $65 million Ilesha Water Supply and Sanitation project in Osun State, the $43 million 300-bed hospital project in Kaduna State and the $7 million Zaria Water Supply Expansion Project. Also, the National Programme for Food Security funded by IDB, which was designed to reduce rural poverty through enhancing farmers’ access to extension advisory support for greater productivity, was successfully implemented in Anambra, Gombe and Yobe States.
Discussions are on-going with the bank to conclude, sign and implement several other programmes beneficial to Nigeria, including the $98 million Bilingual Education Project which will provide almajiri access to basic education and vocational skills in Osun, Nasarawa, Niger, Kwara and Kano States. Other States in the scheme are Kaduna, Gombe, Borno and Adamawa.