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$213m Islamic Development Bank financing for Nigeria threatened

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$213m Islamic Development Bank financing for Nigeria threatened

Over $213 million Islamic Development Bank (IDB) financing for Nigeria is being threatened. A group of Muslims, which said this also raised alarm over country’s risk of IDB’s membership loss through non-payment of dues mean for the group. The group, the Muslims Rights Concern (MURIC), said that 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 $2 billion in support of Nigeria’s developmental programmes which was to span three years (2012- 2014). Nigeria also received $670 million interest-free loan from the Islamic Development Bank in 2012,” MURIC said in a statement. According to MURIC director, Prof. Ishaq Akintola; “Not only that, 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.

“Even right now, 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.

“In addition to approving loan facilities to Nigeria, IDB has made several grants and provided technical assistance to Nigeria. These include a $237,500 to the Central Bank of Nigeria for the development of regulatory framework for noninterest banking in the country and a $250,000 grant to the National Emergency Management Agency for the development of NEMA’s capacity in disaster management.

“As recent as September 2017, Ebonyi State received $150 million from the same IDB to boost health facilities and enable the state governor to reconstruct over 198km roads, known as ring roads, which cut across eight local government areas of the state.” Nigeria, Akintola said, is about to 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 bank has allegedly issued several warnings to this effect as the Ministry of Finance has failed to comply. “MURIC is deeply worried by this discovery. It is a sad reflection of the bureaucratic bottleneck often associated with some ministries and government agencies in this country.

“Who did this to Nigeria? Who is responsible for this lapse? Who left undone what should have been done? Is it the permanent secretary or the minister? Or is the delay from the presidency? Has the president issued orders for release of the fund? 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?” he inquired. Although it was established since December 1973, the Nigerian office in Abuja was not opened until 22nd August, 2016.

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