By Elizabeth Chukwuma
The crisis in the African Development Bank which had almost cost Akinwumi Adesina, a former minister of Agriculture and Rural Development, under former President Good Jonathan his job as President of the African Development Bank, AfDB, was far from being over.
This is because the Niale Kaba led AfDB, Bureau of Board of Governors, had finally bowed to pressure from the North American country of the United States, which has 6.5 percent shares in the African lender Bank to conduct an independent investigation into the allegations of embezzlement, award of contracts to close associates , appointment of Nigerians to strategic positions in the Bank under the close watch of Adesina.
The Bureau of Board Governors of the AfDB, were said to have reached the decision On Thursday, May 28, 2020 at a meeting presided over by Kaba, the Chairman, at the Bank Headquarters building at Abidjan, Cote dÍvore. The Board was also said to have approved multi-million dollar loans for some African countries to help in tackling the Wuhan Town in Hebei Province of the Asian country of China emerged coronavirus, popular, COVID 19,and mitigate the impact on people and businesses in their respective countries.
This may have informed why the African Leaders have pledged to support Adesina re-election bid for another 5-year term. Morso, the African Leaders had kicked against the probe of the the AfDB, President which was being master- minded by the US, describing as a negation of the African Lender Bank ethics.
the embattled AfDB, President may have known from the onset that that the US and their Collaborators both within and outside the Continent were after his job in order to whittle down Nigerian influence in the Bank that he was said to have mobilised his supporters in the Board to the loan for the African countries. The Board as said to have approved $288.5 million loan for Nigeria.
In spite of the fact that the sum of $288.5 million was approved for the country by the African Lender Bank on May 28, 2020, it broke the cherry News to the Nigerian government on Friday, June 5, 2020.The facility , according to a ministry of Finance, Budget and National Planning source was the Bank’s first major support to Nigeria, since the outbreak of the pandemic last February.
Many believe that President Muhammadu Buhari may have prepared the ground for the loan when he had a closed door meeting with the AfDB President and other top government Functionaries on Tuesday, June 2, 2020, over the alleged allegations of Corruptions leveled against him by some whistle blowers and aggrieved Staff which Adesina had considered as spurious .
The Katsina born Nigerian President was said to have assured him at the meeting of the government support in mobolising other African Leaders to endorse his re-election bid , notwithstanding the Opposition of the US, which has 6.5 percent shares in the Bank next to Nigeria.
Prior to the AfDB, loan, the government had approached the International Monetary Fund, IMF, and secured a $3.4 billion Facility. Note that the government may have considered the IMF approved loan as inadequate that it requested the National Assembly to give it approval to source for an additional $5.5 billion from other multi-lateral Financial Institutions. It got it. Recall, that the Lawmakers had earlier approved the government request to source for N800 billion locally to finance basic infrastructural facilities in the country.
Financial analyst believe that the country needed the AfDB loan most at this trying and difficult times that the economy had contracted so much as a result of the COVID 19. Prior to the outbreak of the disease and the slump in oil price in the International market, the Nigeria economy had been projected to grow by 2.9 % of the Gross Domestic Product in 2020 and further expand by 3.3 % in 2021 by the Economic Managers. Hajia Zainab Ahmed, minister of Finance, Budget and National Planning reportedly said that it may contract further to 7.2 %, if the COVID 19, persist .
AAlthough, the IMF, may not have devised measures to monitor the use of the $3.4 billion Facility granted the country in April, but the Bureau of Board of Govrnors of the AfDB, were said to have sent a signal to the government that it will monitor the spending of the $288.5 million COVID 19, Funds, granted the country to ensure that it was used for the purpose in which it was approved: addressing the pandemic impact on the people and businesses.
The African Lender Bank Board were said to have made it clear to the government that it will maintain regular dialogue, particular, with the office of the Auditor- General of the Federation ‘’to ensure adherence to the transparency and accountability in the use of the Funds’’.
In a related development, the AfDB, Board were said to have to have approved the country’s Strategy Papers, CSP, 2024, which, The Magazine gathered had been turned down in the past at the May 27, 2020 meeting. The approved socio-economic advancement document was said to have been built on the successes and Challenges of the 2013-2019 edition of the CSP, which had incorporated the emerging developmental realities and opportunities that could shape the country’s political and economic landscape including the post- COVID 19.
Given an insider information on the CSP, Ebrima Faal, a senior Director for the Bank , disclosed that in the implementation of the strategies in the Document for the country’s social-economic advancement, it will not hesitate to support Nigeria to address the economic shocks associated with the coronavirus disease and oil price shocks in the international market by focusing its intervention measures in the various sectors of the economy that will strengthen public health infrastructural development and accelerate efforts towards the country’s economic transformation and diversification of the export market to improve earnings and fiscal revenue from the oil sector.
Recall that as at December, 2019, the Bank’s Group active portfolio in the oil rich Nigeria comprised 61 operations, with a total commitment of $5 billion. Note that that of the total active portfolios, 29, were in public sector, with a commitment of $2 billion and 32 non -sovereign operations with a total commitment of $3 billion.