Recession: Cut cost of governance now – SERAP tells Buhari
The Socio-Economic Rights and Accountability Project (SERAP) has appealed to President Muhammadu Buhari to cut the cost of governance and implement bold transparency and accountability measures following the nation’s slip into a second recession under his administration.
The civil society organisation made the appeal in an open letter dated November 21, 2020 and signed by its Deputy Director, Kolawole Oluwadare.
According to the group, the economic crisis provides an opportunity to prioritise access of poor and vulnerable Nigerians to basic socio-economic rights, and to genuinely recommit to the fight against corruption.
“The country cannot afford getting back to business as usual,” SERAP stated.
The open letter further read, “Implementing human rights, transparency and accountability measures would save money, address projected adverse human rights impacts of the recession, and fast-track the economic recovery process. It is not too late to take urgent measures that would put the country’s wealth and resources to work for the common good of all Nigerians.
“Decades of mismanagement and corruption, and deep-seated deficiencies in public financial management have directly contributed to higher levels of borrowing and public debts, and consequently, the economic recession. Successive governments have squandered the promise afforded by the country’s natural wealth and resources.
“The paltry resources Nigeria invests in essential public goods and services that would benefit ordinary Nigerians can be partly explained by the high spending of public funds to finance a life of luxury for members of the National Assembly, state governors, and other powerful politicians.
“The country’s resources appear to have been used almost exclusively for the benefit of the political elites rather than on projects that would ensure the right to an adequate standard of living, the maximum welfare, prosperity, freedom and happiness of every citizen on the basis of social justice and equality.
“SERAP is seriously concerned about the adverse consequences of the economic crisis on the human rights of poor and vulnerable Nigerians, including denying them access to essential public goods and services such as healthcare, education, clean water, and regular electricity supply.
“We would be grateful if your government begins to implement the recommended action and measures within 14 days of the receipt and/or publication of this letter. If we have not heard from you by then as to the steps being taken in this direction, SERAP shall take all appropriate legal actions to compel your government to implement these recommendations for the sake of human rights, transparency and accountability.”