Shehu Sani Accuses World Bank of Insensitivity Amid Economic Reforms  - The Top Society

Shehu Sani Accuses World Bank of Insensitivity Amid Economic Reforms 


Former Kaduna Senator Shehu Sani has lambasted the World Bank for what he perceives as insensitivity and irresponsibility in its recent advice to the Nigerian government.

Sani alleges that the World Bank’s recommendations, which include raising taxes and withdrawing subsidies on petrol, will exacerbate the already challenging conditions faced by Nigerians grappling with poverty and insecurity.

In a statement issued on Friday, Sani expressed concern over the World Bank’s prediction of poverty levels rising to 104 million out of a population of 223 million, attributing this to the economic reforms causing a surge in the cost of living. He accused the World Bank leadership of viewing the economy as a mere chess game, detached from the real-life impact on citizens and their families.

Sani questioned the wisdom of such recommendations at a time when the Nigerian government is delicately managing a precarious situation, drawing a metaphorical parallel to handling a grenade and expressing apprehension about potential chaos in a nation already grappling with severe security challenges.

The former Senator also criticized President Bola Ahmed Tinubu for his removal of fuel subsidies and the unification of the exchange rate, dismissing these measures as insufficient to address the root causes of inflation and economic instability.

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He urged President Tinubu to adopt more inclusive and sustainable policies focusing on job creation, poverty reduction, infrastructure improvement, social protection, and regional integration.

Sani further called on fellow Nigerians to resist any attempts by external or internal actors to undermine the nation’s sovereignty and dignity, emphasizing the importance of unity amid growing public discontent over escalating prices of essential commodities.

He said,

“The World Bank is insouciantly telling Our Nigerian Government to raise taxes, withdraw subsidies on everything and just increase the price of PMS known as petrol. 

“It’s the same World Bank that alerted about poverty levels rising to 104 million out of a population of 223 million, as a result of the rise in the cost of living brought about by the economic reforms. 

“The World Bank kingpins comfortably sit in their office and think of the economy as game of Chess and not about people, their families and their lives. 

“At present, the Government is managing a Grenade with care and now telling it to remove the pin. Where would the World Bank be if the country is plunged into further chaos in a nation currently battling with security challenges?” 

This statement from Shehu Sani comes in the wake of increasing public dissatisfaction with soaring prices of food items, electricity, transport fares, and other essentials. The National Bureau of Statistics reported a spike in inflation to 25.8% in August 2023 from 23.2% in July. The Central Bank of Nigeria responded by increasing its policy rate by 200 basis points in September to combat inflationary pressures.

The World Bank, having supported Nigeria’s economic recovery efforts since 2015, released a report in June 2021, offering policy options to reduce inflation and shield poor households from its impacts. However, critics argue that these reforms may be insufficient or tardy in addressing Nigeria’s structural issues, including corruption, poor governance, weak institutions, low human capital development, high unemployment rates, and low foreign direct investment.

Questions also loom over the effectiveness and accountability of World Bank projects in Nigeria, with skeptics challenging initiatives such as the Power Sector Recovery Project, Transmission Network Upgrading Project, Rural Electrification Project, and Social Investment Program.

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